Former Wigan Athletic chief executive Jonathan Jackson has told The Athletic that losing Joe Gelhardt to Leeds United for a low fee was heartbreaking.
The 19-year-old forward previously rose through the youth ranks at the DW Stadium before eventually being snapped up by the Whites back in the summer of last year.
Gelhardt has since gone on to make four senior appearances for Leeds and is starting to make inroads towards becoming a regular at first team level under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.
Speaking about when Wigan were forced into selling the teenager, Jackson was quick to admit the following:
“Although Joffy wasn’t sold immediately, very soon clubs were making offers.
“It was heartbreaking to see him leave for that figure.
“He could have been anything.
“If he’d played 40 games for us and scored 20 goals, who knew the value he could have been?”
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In the end Leeds paid an initial fee of just £700,000 for Gelhardt, which in turn helped the Latics to get back on a more stable financial footing after being placed in administration.
Gelhardt played 21 senior games for Wigan, scoring one goal, after breaking through from the academy.
Losing a player of Gelhardt’s talents is never easy but when you lose them for such a low fee, it is even harder to take for those who helped to develop him into the player that he is now.
At the same time everyone at Wigan will have been delighted with how the youngster has progressed, as he now seems a lot closer to breaking into Bielsa’s plans at Leeds.
Wigan sold him at a time when they were desperate for a windfall, so looking at it from a financial perspective, they took the right decision with the club’s best interests at heart.
They will certainly think about what might of been if the forward had stayed put for a few more years but there is no point in looking back at the past.