Aston Villa midfielder Steven Davis may well be allowed to leave the Midlands club this summer according to manager Martin O'Neill.
The 22-year-old Northern Ireland international schemer was a major hit in the 2005-06 campaign, but struggled to find top form last term following O'Neill's arrival at Villa Park.
Now Davis is being linked with a switch to Fulham and O'Neill has opened the door for the exit of his compatriot.
He said: "He had a really good first season and found the going a bit more difficult this season just gone. It is almost like a second-season syndrome.
"His preferred position is central midfield. He doesn't feel comfortable out wide, so sometimes it is limiting unless you are going into games with a 4-3-3 system, giving Steven licence to go forward and not having to worry about any defensive duties.
"If you are playing 4-4-2, unless you have got a sitting holding midfield player who doesn't do anything else and allows the other midfielder to go and join in forward, then it is difficult.
"What about speculation over Steven's future? That is inevitable. He has got a really good reputation. I wouldn't be expecting anyone here to be happy about not playing.
"But, in general, there is going to be a stage where some of the young players who have tasted a bit of the side and are then not getting in regularly, are either going to battle and get in the side or may have to go and look elsewhere."