I think Asmir Begovic might have played his last game for Stoke City. The Bosnian goalkeeper, consistently one of the best in the Premier League for the past two years, broke his finger on Christmas Day and is not expected back until the start of February at the earliest.
By that time the transfer window will be shut - and Begovic will be free to negotiate with any team abroad to discuss a Bosman transfer in the summer.
Only Stoke will surely not let it get that far.
For a player of his age and class, broken finger or not, teams are still likely to stump up £5 million at least for the man - surely he will be sold in January.
There was no reason for The Potters to ever sign Jack Butland - but they did so because they knew Begovic would be leaving one day.
But where could he go?
For me there is one obvious destination - and Artur Boruc really is not going to like this.
Not only did Begovic score a goal against Boruc for Stoke but now he really could, and should, take his first-team place.
Southampton stopper Boruc is also out with a wrist dislocation - and his absence has highlighted the lack of depth in the goalkeeping department at St Marys once again.
Boruc has been superb since arriving for nothing. He has lost weight and regained his sharpness but now he is starting to make those silly mistakes he has in the past - mistakes Begovic does not make.
Stoke will be alright, with Thomas Sorensen and Butland in reserve the loss of Begovic will only be felt briefly.
Some might argue this is unfair on Boruc. He had been in great form in other games this season making save after save - the issue is his erraticism.
Begovic is one of the least erratic keepers around and as for owing Boruc - Southampton gave him a chance when nobody else was willing ton and he cost them absolutely nothing - reducing him to number two goalkeeper will be easy to swallow .
For me the solution is simple for Southampton. Tempt Stoke with an offer they can’t refuse, move Boruc to an accomplished number two spot, send Paolo Gazzaniga out on loan and allow Kelvin Davis’ career to fritter out.
It’s cutthroat, it’s ambitious and its brilliant - that is what the new Southampton are all about.
Even if Begovic is a former Portsmouth player.
image: © ronnie macdonald