Kieran Richardson flew to the Far East with Manchester United last night, an indication, perhaps, that he will not be returning to West Bromwich Albion on loan.
The England international midfield player was a revelation for Albion towards the end of last season, playing a significant part in ensuring they remained in the Premiership.
A call-up to the England squad for the mini-tour to the United States followed, and he scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the hosts to cap a superb debut.
Richardson, aged 20, made it clear that he wanted to play Premiership football for United - and that desire appears to have scuppered any hopes Albion had of keeping him for the 2005-06 season.
Richardson will now have the chance to prove himself further to Ferguson as he today flew out with the United squad for their tour to the Far East.
But Bryan Robson, the Albion manager, believes that if Richardson is to realise his dream of playing in the World Cup next summer, then another season in the spotlight with Albion will help his cause, rather than a potential bit-part role at Old Trafford.
However, Richardson appears determined to make the grade at United. "If I get to 23 and I am still not getting through, I might have to move," Richardson said. "But at the moment I'm not thinking about that. I am contracted to United and that's who I want to play for."
Another player unlikely to see action with Albion again is Jason Koumas, who could be set for a move to West Ham United. The Wales international midfield player is on the transfer list at The Hawthorns and appears to have fallen out with Robson.
Despite interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City, West Ham appear favourites to sign Koumas for a fee of around £1.5 million. The problem for Wolves, who want Koumas on loan, and Cardiff is that they cannot offer Premiership football. West Ham can.
Hammers manager Alan Pardew has bemoaned the lack of flair players in his squad and Koumas fits the bill. "One thing for sure is that the flair bracket in my squad needs to improve," Pardew said. "I've got the finances to take two, maybe three, more top players here and hope to do that before the start of the season."
Luis Figo had been linked with a move to Upton Park, but if he does leave Real Madrid it will be for Liverpool. A more realistic target for Pardew is Koumas, whose talent is unquestioned but whose attitude is not always conducive to a harmonious relationship with managers.
Koumas would probably jump at the chance to rejuvenate his career, as it appears previous suitors, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, are no longer interested in signing him.