Arsenal's Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil in action with Aston Villa's Idrissa Gueye
Aston Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye could be set for a return to France after just one season, with Marseille said to have triggered his release clause of £7.1 million according to a Sky Sports report.
The Senegalese international only moved to Villa Park last summer, one of a number of Ligue 1 based players that were signed under Tim Sherwood's ill fated reign.
And in truth he was one of the better performers in a desperately disappointing campaign that saw Villa relegated from the Premier League for the first time in their history.
Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (L) celebrates with Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Veretout
He had been linked with several Premier League clubs after the season ended, with his release clause perceived a decent fee for a player of his ability, but there was always likely to be interest from back in France if he were to move on.
The 26-year-old arrived from Lille on a four-year deal, having played 176 times for Les Dogues, and featured 38 times for Villa last season, 35 of which were in the league.
But he couldn't help Sherwood, Remi Garde and then Eric Black mount any hope of pulling away from the relegation zone, and Villa ended up bottom, 17 points behind the team above them.
Aston Villa's Idrissa Gueye in action with Bournemouth's Lewis Grabban
Evidently, his season in England hasn't dampened his reputation across the channel, and with Marseille flush with cash after the sale of Michy Batsuhayi to Chelsea, they are eager to strengthen a side who themselves disappointed by finishing in 13th place, way below their usual league position.
New Aston Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo is already identifying and recruiting players ahead of the club's attempts to bounce straight back to the Premier League, and last week signed Reading defensive midfielder Aaron Tshibola, with the 21-year-old likely to come in for Gueye in the middle of the park.
Michy Batshuayi (L) challenges Idrissa Gueye