Hirst – whose father is the legendary Owls striker, David – left Hillsborough at the end of his contract a year ago.
And although a move to Belgium’s second tier may have seemed unusual, Leuven’s association with Leicester helped to make sense of things.
The Foxes had long been linked with a move for Hirst after he refused a new deal at Sheffield Wednesday, where he as regarded as one of the club’s best prospects in years.
But the Premier League side would have still had to pay a significant amount in compensation had they signed him straight from the Owls.
Being an overseas club, Leuven were only required to pay a fraction of that amount, which made them an ideal temporary home for the 20-year-old.
And Leicester were undeterred by Hirst’s return of just three goals and five assists for Leuven, who began the season managed by the former Sheffield Wednesday captain and Leicester manager, Nigel Pearson, and ended it relegated to the third tier.
Here’s what those of a Sheffield Wednesday persuasion are saying about his move on Twitter…
— Jack (@jkilby90) July 5, 2019
There’s a shock for everyone. Sue them @swfc
— Barx (@Barx_SB) July 5, 2019
— Brian (@RightmovePat) July 5, 2019
— Douglas Plenty 🦉⚽️ (@stoulson1976) July 5, 2019
Dirty move that.
— Neil Esposito (@MisterZeets) July 5, 2019
@FBI I’d like to report a Robbery.
— Josh 🦉 (@JoshWilliams42) July 5, 2019
Call yer sen a Wednesday fan 🐍 🐀
— Mark (@markyoungerswfc) July 5, 2019
What a stitch up. Hope his career tails off. For me, never welcome at Hillsborough
— Russell Crapper (@HerbertsGone) July 5, 2019