There was an element of mystery to the signing of Lewis Holtby in September, his journey to east Lancashire chartered through social media and his unveiling met by plenty of excitement.

His Rovers career has too been a curious one.

His arrival was thought to help bring out the best, but also alleviate, some of the pressure on Bradley Dack.

He leaves having been on the pitch for just 470 minutes across two seasons with the Rovers talisman.

Holtby endeared himself to fans with his positive demeanour, while his conscientious nature also shone through, but despite his infectious energy, his time at Ewood Park has been far from smooth.

There was the bedding in process of being back in English football, Holtby himself admitting the relentless nature of the Championship took its toll on his body, an injury in February 2020 halting the momentum he was building up after his double at Sheffield Wednesday when he showed promise that he could be the man to replace the injured Dack.

But a setback of his own put those plans on the backburner, and by the time he returned for the Project Restart fixtures, he was operating in a false No.9 role.

And that was part of the problem for Holtby, it wasn’t until this season that Rovers finally managed to find a home for him on the outside of a central midfield three.

As well as a false nine, he’d been used wide, as a number 10, and also for a period as a deep-lying central midfielder, unable to find just how to get the best out of his talents.

The move to 4-3-3 looked to be a positive step for him and both Joe Rothwell.

When they clicked, Rovers were at their best, and Holtby’s ability to get on the ball and control a game was something they have long missed.

He orchestrated the play in November’s win at Preston North End in a way a Rovers midfielder hasn’t for some time.

Games being played without supporters offered an insight into the instructions that Holtby offered from his midfield role, his voice one of the most prominent.

Yet his Rovers career was let down by an inability to put a run of games together, five his longest run of consecutive starts in the Championship, while he leaves Rovers having scored just four goals and chalking up only five assists, numbers that don’t reflect his quality.

The fitness issues weren’t owing to a lack of hard work, charting a plane back to Germany as coronavirus hit to work with a former fitness coach to overcome the lateral knee ligament injury he sustained last year to put him in a position to resume playing when the season did.

To his credit, through sheer hard work, he achieved that.

The 30-year-old will leave with goodwill, but plenty more ‘what might have been’.

Whether it be Rovers not able to get the most out of him, or he out of his body, there have been a series of false dawns and unfulfilled promise.

A player of his stature should have commanded a more regular place in the side than he did, always more part of the team than a standout performer.

His wife and young daughter have joined him in the north west and it will be interesting to chart where he ends up next, whether it be another club in England or a return to Germany.

While his Rovers chapter is at an end, his positive outlook won’t allow him to dwell, as he looks for his footballing story to continue.