Moving to Manchester City in August 2012 promised to be the next step in Jack Rodwell’s career and propel him into a star for club and country.
However, it hasn’t quite worked out like that for the defensive midfielder, as only 14 Premier League appearances for the title-chasing club have seen the 23-year-old descend into something of a forgotten man.
With first-team opportunities not likely to be forthcoming any time soon for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, reports in the British press have linked Rodwell with a City exit – with a return to former club Everton potentially on the cards.
Despite Rodwell making his name at Goodison Park, whether returning to Merseyside would be a good move for him or not remains to be seen.
Since leaving the Toffees, Rodwell’s stock has dropped while Everton have progressed to play an exciting brand of attacking football.
Just whether or not the midfielder would get the first-team action that he craves at his old club is questionable.
With Leon Osman and James McCarthy playing well and featuring in almost every game for Roberto Martinez’s men, the need for Rodwell also seems relatively limited.
Rodwell’s potential return to Everton could well be down to the fate of one of his current City team-mates – Gareth Barry.
The England international veteran has been excellent during his loan spell with the club and his future will certainly be a point of contention this summer.
Everton will hope to secure a permanent deal for Barry, but will surely face competition from other Premier League clubs. City may yet feel that he has a role at the Etihad Stadium, even if it is only as a more-rounded back-up player than Rodwell and Javi Garcia.
If Barry does sing permanently at Goodison, Rodwell would find it hard to get time on the pitch if he also moves back to Everton. However, if Barry ends up elsewhere it could open the door for Rodwell to return.