Lee Hendrie left Sheffield United for Derby County in a swap deal for Jordan Stewart in 2009, following two miserable years at Bramall Lane.
Hendrie made 26 appearances for the Blades after joining from Aston Villa. The midfielder was signed by Bryan Robson, but when Robson was sacked and replaced as manager by Kevin Blackwell, things began to unravel.
“I made the wrong decision. I should have signed for Stoke (where he spent the 2006/07 season on loan) after leaving Villa. That was one of my main regrets,” Hendrie told the Claret & Blue podcast.
“But I signed for Sheffield United, which was just the worst thing I could have done because it just didn’t work out.
“Kevin Blackwell was just an absolute .. well, I don’t even want to go into it. He was one of the worst managers I have ever, ever been under.”
After 18 months under Blackwell – six of which were spent on loan at Leicester City – Hendrie left for Derby, with Stewart coming the other way.
The left-back had an unforgettable year in South Yorkshire. Stewart played 23 times, largely as a substitute, before leaving for Greece in the summer of 2010. The entire saga was a pretty sorry affair.
Other Sheffield United swap deal misses
Although not as common as transfer rumour stories would make you believe, swap deals do happen. And the Blades have been involved in a few over the years – with varying degrees of success.
Rob Kozluk, Jonathan Hunt and £500k for Vas Borbokis
Before Hendrie and Stewart there was another swap deal involving United and Derby. In 1999, the Independent reports of this transfer occurring because of the Blades’ financial troubles.
Borbokis was arguably their best player at the time, which is why he attracted the interest of the then-Premiership side. Hunt had been on loan at Bramall Lane the previous season, but was awful when he arrived.
Kozluk actually spent the next eight years with the club, although was always a squad player at best. Borbokis didn’t live up to the hype at Derby either, but was by far the best of the three for United.
James Thomas (loan) and £2m for Marcus Bent
Financially this was a pretty good deal for the Blades. As BBC Sport reported at the time in 2000, the fee for Bent rose to £2m because Blackburn Rovers were promoted the season after signing him.
Yet it was the inability to replace the striker that made this transfer a miss for United. Thomas, meanwhile, scored one goal in an otherwise unremarkable loan spell.
What about the hits?
Swap deals haven’t always been doom and gloom for the Blades, however. Over the years, there have been some hits as well.
Tony Agana, Peter Hetherston and £40k for Martin Kuhl
This occurred during a bleak period for the club, coming just before they were relegated to Division Three in 1988. Yet while Kuhl struggled at Watford, United found a gem in Agana.
Hetherston would return to Scotland after only 11 appearance, but the striker formed a formidable partnership upfront with Brian Deane.
Their goals fired the club to back-to-back promotions and a return to the top flight.
Peter Ndlovu and £1m for Curtis Woodhouse
Technically this isn’t a swap deal. As BBC Sport reports, Birmingham City paid £1m for Woodhouse and Ndlovu was meant to come the other way.
Yet the Zimbabwean could not personal terms and was released, yet was still signed by the Blades shortly after.
At the time it wasn’t a particularly popular transfer, but as Woodhouse’s career drifted, Ndlovu went onto score 21 goals in 126 appearances during his time in South Yorkshire.