One in, one out - that's the general rule with the big clubs. And with Chelsea's Juan Mata just a signature away from completing a £37m move to Old Trafford, the signs look ominous for one of Manchester United's top young talents.
Attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard had been in impressive form on loan for Birmingham City earlier this season, netting 6 and creating 3 goals in 13 appearances for the Blues, and he clearly hoped he would return a step closer to the Manchester United first team, and kick on to make a name for himself in the Premier League.
The imminent signing of Mata from Chelsea, however, has all but put paid to the youngster's chance of making a breakthrough this season. In the meantime, it could be wise decision for the player to move on loan again to a top Championship side.
As a hub of goals and creativity, it shouldn't hard for Lingard to find a potential suitor, and there are three clubs, all pushing for promotion, that could immediately benefit from the player's ability.
Although the Leeds takeover looks potentially messy, it still shouldn't interfere with a loan move for the Manchester United starlet.
The Leeds midfield this season has been guilty of a lack of creativity and edge, with the highest scoring midfielder sat on just two goals. Lingard could play a huge part in a late dramatic push up the table for Leeds, and benefit manager Brian McDermott in the same way Jason Roberts did the last time the manager led a team to promotion from the Championship at Reading.
Queens Park Rangers
Creativity and goals from midfield does appear to be a major problem at QPR. Lingard has already provided more goals and assists this season for Birmingham than any other Queens Park Rangers midfielder, and and QPR manager Harry Redknapp is always on the lookout to improve his squad.
For a team that needs to be back on Match of the Day next season, the initial loan signing of Lingard could be a major step in the right direction.
Billy Davies is another manager looking to add a bit more threat into his final third this January window, with reports linking Forest to a number of high profile attackers.
Manchester United's England U21 international may not fit the bill as a traditional number 9, but could easily be used in the second striker role and could perhaps give the team's misfiring front men a better platform to work from.
image: © David Locke