Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has revealed to Seat Pitch how close he came to making a move to Nottingham Forest during the January transfer window.
The England international was linked with the Reds by the Daily Mail after starting the season out of favour at Turf Moor.
Leeds were also mooted as potential suitors by The Sun, with the 32-year-old’s experience targeted by promotion hopefuls in the Championship.
In the end, Heaton was handed a recall by Burnley at the end of December and never looked back.
“Pretty much,” Heaton, speaking at Precision’s Goalkeeping event for his bespoke glove range, told Seat Pitch when asked if a return to favour with the Clarets ended any exit thoughts.
“I was trying not to get ahead of myself at the time. If January had come around and I still wasn’t playing, then it was something to be looked at.
“But thankfully I got back in the team and I’m thoroughly enjoying it at the moment.
“We had a good run. Unfortunately the last three results haven’t been what we wanted but we’re ready to take the challenge on and let’s see out the rest of the season in a positive way.”
While re-established as Burnley’s favoured option between the sticks at present, Heaton had started the season behind Joe Hart in the pecking order.
It was during a spell on the bench that he admitted to considering a switch elsewhere, but he insists he never got as far as weighing up the merits of a move to the City Ground or Elland Road.
He added: “It never got to that point really.
“I was conscious of not forecasting it. We all know football can change quickly. I was very aware of that, and thankfully it did.
“I was perhaps a touch surprised at how quickly it turned round, but I think it’s important that you focus on what’s right in front of you and not get carried away. That was a prime example of that.”
As pointed out by Heaton, the landscape can shift very quickly in football.
It could be that the transfer door re-opens at some stage but, with his current contract running until 2020, the former Manchester United keeper says he would be willing to extend his stay at Turf Moor.
“It’s definitely something I would be open to,” he said.
“I’m not sure whether that is something to be discussed in the summer or not. In terms of my mind, that is certainly something I’d consider.”
As for the future, Heaton is prepared to let that take care of itself.
He added: “To be honest, I haven’t thought too much about it.
“In terms of the immediate ambitions, performing and getting back into the international set-up would probably be the first that I would like to aim at. From there, just kick on from that.
“There are no sort of feelings towards going elsewhere or playing elsewhere, for me it’s about the here and now and performing and seeing where that takes me.”
A once complicated situation appears to have resolved itself for all concerned.
Heaton is happy and playing at Burnley.
Forest have seen Costel Pantilimon, who saw questions asked of his role early in the campaign, enjoy a welcome return to form and the collection of clean sheets.
And Leeds looked elsewhere for keeping talent before eventually luring Kiko Casilla away from Real Madrid.
Everyone got what they were after.
Precision’s Infinite Heat Gloves, designed specifically by Tom are available now at http://www.precisiontraining.uk.com/goalkeeping.