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The midfielder has blossomed in the second half of the campaign, indicating the Reds may have pulled off an impressive swoop

Rewind to the start of the 2013-14 season, and little importance was being paid to the future of modest young Melbourne Victory midfielder James Jeggo, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the campaign.

By the turn of the calendar year, rumours began to surface that the slight, apparently unremarkable Jeggo was bound for Coopers Stadium, later all but confirmed by those in the know.

It appeared to be very much a gamble for Adelaide United, Jeggo having struggled to make an impact on the Victory first team since a flurry of promising appearances during Jim Magilton's unhappy reign in 2011-12.

He only started twice for Ange Postecoglou the following season, but the demands of competing in both the A-League and the AFC Champions League this term presented Jeggo with an opportunity to shine, and he emphatically seized it.

If, as reported, a deal to join Adelaide had already been agreed, the 22-year-old was able to play with freedom when called on to start six league games and four ACL matches between January and April.

He was particularly effective in the 1-0 win at home to Yokohama F Marinos in March, supplying a killer through-ball for Kosta Barbarouses to net the only goal of the game.

With Kevin Muscat sometimes tweaking his formation to be closer to a 4-3-3 in Asian competition, Jeggo presented himself as a hard-running replacement for the departed Mitch Nichols, linking attack and midfield well and suddenly appearing to be a viable first-team player in what is sure to be a new-look Victory next season.

Unfortunately, a season and a half of limited playing time had already driven his hidden talent across the border, where he is likely to compete with Cameron Watson for a spot in the Adelaide midfield.

"James is the type of player that suits the style and football philosophy of this club," Gombau said in a statement.

"He's a player that can help out the team, and from the first time I saw him play, I liked him straight away.

"I like the way that he plays, because he's a player that is always thinking in attack but also he's strong in defending.

"For me, it's important that he's a young player, one that is hungry to play, who also has a strong future ahead of him."

If Gombau's intuition is proven correct, Victory's loss could prove to be very much Adelaide's gain.