Michael O’Neill and Giannelli Imbula would probably have passed each other in the street and not even batted an eyelid.
And there’s no reason why they should because despite one being Stoke City manager and the other Stoke City’s record signing, they never met and probably never will now.
Imbula, an £18.3m arrival four years ago, left the club by mutual consent last week and now appears to be on his way to Russia to play for FC Sochi.
And O’Neill certainly doesn’t have a problem with that.
“When I came to the club I inherited situations with players like Imbula,” he says.
“Whilst they were signed for the club, they weren’t here at the club, so I never met the player or spoken to the player because he’s been away for some period.
“Those are all situations which aren’t ideal.
“For the club’s benefit and the player’s benefit, those situations need to be addressed and so it’s a positive that they move on.”
For the record, Imbula played just 28 times for Stoke and was last seen in the club’s colours nearly three years ago after being shifted out on loan to Toulouse, Rayo Vallecano and Lecce in France, Spain and Italy respectively.