Lewis Holtby has completed his season-long loan to Hamburg, ending weeks of speculation that he will be leaving the club. The deal includes an option to buy so it is possible that the Bundesliga club will exercise that option after the season and Holtby will never wear a Tottenham Hotspur shirt again.
It has always been likely that Holtby would leave Spurs this summer and HSV emerged as a candidate for him early on. For Holtby, it was a chance to move to a club where he will play every match and it is back in the league he once excelled in so there is a comfort level for him there.
Had Holtby stayed with Spurs, he wouldn't have been buried. While other out of favor players weren't even named to the squads for the early season matches, Holtby was regularly on the bench and an option for Mauricio Pochettino. The 23-year-old would have provided a spark of the bench, using his energy to give the team a jolt, but he didn't want to be a bench player. He wanted to play everyday and Spurs weren't going to fight his departure, knowing they could cash in on him.
Holtby joined Spurs in January 2013 as a much-celebrated signing. He was one of the Bundesliga's best young players and Tottenham were able to sign him on the cheap, for £2 million because he was about to be out of contract at Schalke. It seemed like Spurs had hit a home run, but Holtby never emerged as the brilliant No. 10 that they thought he would. Instead, he looked the part of capable squad player -- not bad, but not as good as everyone expected.
Now Holtby is going back to the Bundesliga and he may stay there. It is a good move for all parties, but it does leave one to wonder, what if he made good on his promise?