What a remarkable transformation it has been for Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes.
This time two years ago, the central midfielder was finishing a wretched season-long loan spell at Leeds United where he had failed to even make the matchday squad for the second half of the campaign.
Given that then-manager Garry Monk knew Grimes from their time together at Swansea, who he signed from Exeter City when he was 19, it appeared somewhat odd that he was nowhere near the team.
Now the former English Under-21 star has rebuilt his career to such an extent that an Everton source has told Football Insider the club are willing to pay “serious money” to sign him from the Championship side this summer.
Not that Leeds fans remember Grimes’ spell especially fondly. His 12 appearances in a white jersey included just one league start and the likes of Liam Bridcutt, Ronaldo Vieira, Eunan O’Kane and current first-team star Kalvin Phillips were all preferred in central midfield.
The experience was a blow for a player who was so highly regarded at Exeter that then director of football Steve Perryman, a Tottenham legend, said he had never been more excited about the emergence of a young talent.
Grimes returned to Swansea ahead of what proved to be their final Premier League campaign, but was soon loaned out again at an even lower level than in 2016-17.
He spent last season at League One outfit Northampton Town. It proved to be the making of him.
Grimes started 43 of their 46 league fixtures and, although, The Cobblers ended up being relegated, Grimes emerged with credit and returned to Swansea a better, stronger player.
His technical ability and industry in the middle of the pitch, as well as a left foot that can execute radar-precise passes, have helped him flourish back at Swansea this season.
That was confirmed last week when Grimes walked away with the players’ player, away player, Swans personality and supporters’ player of the year gongs at the club’s annual awards.
The consistency and quality of his performances have alerted Premier League scouts and convinced them he can step up to the top flight.
Everton are among the clubs trailing Grimes and, given Swansea’s financial issues, a significant bid could be enough to prise him from the Liberty Stadium.
He turns 24 in the summer and has demonstrated he could be now ready to come of age in the Premier League at an elite club.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that Burnley have set their sights on a Whites ace as contract talks are set to begin.