Manchester United and Manchester City fans must have looked on with collective regret this week, after watching former players Paul Pogba and Mario Balotelli light up an otherwise uninspiring international break for their respective countries.
French international Pogba was the star of the show in Les Bleus 1-0 defeat against Spain in Paris on Tuesday, the 20-year-old midfielder holding his own against an all-star cast that included the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquest and David Silva.
Five days earlier, Balotelli scored a stunning 30-yard goal in Italy's 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil last Thursday, and followed that performance up with a brace against Malta this week, to keep Cesare Prandelli's side top of World Cup qualifying Group B.
In fact, since leaving the Etihad Stadium and signing for AC Milan in a £19million deal in January, Balotelli has plummeted 10 goals in eight games for club and country, which must have prompted the reigning Premier League champions to question whether they made the right decision to sell the enigmatic striker.
The 22-year-old was involved in a series of controversies during his time in England, with numerous spats and public fallings out with former manager Roberto Mancini. But, he seems to have flourished since returning to the San Siro, in the presence of two disciplinarian coaches in Massimiliano Allegri and the aforementioned Prandelli.
Like Mancini's stance with Balotelli, Sir Alex Ferguson didn't want Pogba to leave Old Trafford either, but Manchester United had their hands tied by a player approaching the end of his contract.
He was lured to Turin in the summer of 2012 with the promise of a bumper payday, and is reportedly earning close to £1million-per-month at Juventus, a figure that dwarfed the salary on offer at United.
The Red Devils boss was said to be 'out of his mind' when the midfielder left to undertake a spell in Serie 'A', losing a player with great talent and tremendous physique, naturally suiting him to football in England's top-flight.
In light of both Pogba and Balotelli's recent standout displays, GiveMeFootball thought it a good time to pick out five of the best former Premier League players that got away too early.
Click through the tabs below to see if you agree with our selections - and feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the article.
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