Nottingham Forest will some day rue the sale of Ben Brereton.
The England under-19 international’s loan move to Blackburn Rovers was completed last week, with the view to it being made permanent in January for a fee believed to be in the region of £7 million.
In fairness, Brereton’s haul of nine goals in 3,599 minutes of senior football was not stellar.
But it must also be acknowledged that he was held back both by his time spent playing in an unfamiliar role out wide and then in a negative, defensive system last season under Aitor Karanka.
When entrusted with a central role, the 19-year-old has proven that he can be serviceable at Championship level.
That is not to say he needed to start either, but Brereton represented the future at a club that appears totally consumed by the present.
Forest have signed 30 players since the start of last season, and just this summer have spent over £20 million on new acquisitions.
The club has 29 first-team players and over the coming years, will risk Financial Fair Play problems should it continue spending in a similar vein.
Nor does the £7 million they will receive for his sale in January represent a valuable sale for the English youth international, who was called up to the under-20 side this month.
But Karanka insists that Brereton played a role in his own sale, insisting that it was the player’s decision.
“If he leaves, because he wants to go, I fully understand that, because he was not playing. So, for me, this is easy,” Karanka said.
“You can see that he has not been in the squad for the past month. He is a young player who had chances last season. If he stays here, he will have his chances again
“You can sometimes want to keep a young player but the player wants to play and he wants to earn more money.”
As the Forest manager acknowledges, a lack of playing time or guarantees means that the deal is a positive one for the player.
But for Forest, a team spending beyond their means, Brereton was a low wage and serviceable player that could at least have come off the bench and played a role this season.