West Bromwich Albion midfielder Richard Chaplow has been sold to Preston North End in a deal that could be worth £1.35 million.
Albion will receive a guaranteed £800,000, with a further £550,000 due in performance-related add-ons and a 20 per cent sell-on clause which has been inserted in the deal.
Chaplow, who celebrates his 23rd birthday next month, joined Albion in a £1.5 million move from Burnley, his only previous club, on deadline day in January 2005 and they were interested in bringing him back to Turf Moor.
The Accrington-born player found first-team starts hard to come by from day one at The Hawthorns and joined Southampton on a three-month loan in February 2006. His only real run of games for Albion came during the second half of last term, when he played a key role in helping the club clinch a Coca-Cola Championship play-off berth.
However, Chaplow was restricted to one substitute appearance this season after his last start for the Baggies in the Carling Cup third-round defeat by Cardiff City four months ago.
Chaplow's departure will almost certainly see manager Tony Mowbray attempting to bring in another midfielder. He has already said he is keen to find some cover for club captain Jonathan Greening, who has been ever-present this season.
Mowbray believes the former Middlesbrough midfielder is one of the best players in the Championship and crucial to his side's push for a Premiership place. The 29-year-old has missed just one game this season, the Carling Cup defeat to Cardiff City in September; even then, he was thrown into action as the tie went drastically wrong.
Mowbray considered resting his key player for last Saturday's FA Cup third -round tie against Charlton Athletic at The Valley but felt he could not repeat the same mistake, such is Greening's importance to the side and the system to which Mowbray is committed.
"I think Jonathan Greening is as good a player as there is in this division," said the manager. "He is everything I like in a midfield player. He is full of technique and has a great attitude to work and training. He wants to win every week.
"Jonathan is a player who I would have liked to have given a breather at the weekend, because he is similar to Kevin Phillips. He has continued to play but I thought he hit a bit of a plateau at Ipswich [the 2-0 defeat at Portman Road on New Year's Day} and probably needed a breather.
"He is one of those players who will do very little training this week as he tries to re-energise but we don't really have anyone of a similar type that allows me to take him out and sit him on the bench.
"He is the oil in our engine and it is a concern to me that, if he is out for any length of time, it would impact on our team. We do have players like Robert Koren, Filipe Teixeira and James Morrison who can all play there but aren't quite the same type of player; they are all forward-thinking players."
While Greening has been used as a wide midfielder for most of his career, he has begun to revel in the responsibility of playing in the centre of midfield.
Although he is not a typical defensive midfielder, his ability on the ball and his vision has meant he has been used in a 'quarter-back' role similar to the one Sven Goran Eriksson experimented with as England manager with David Beckham in the role.
"I think Jonathan has risen to the responsibility of knowing that he is a valued member of the team. From what I know of his playing career he has spent a lot of time on the wings, being asked to put balls into the box.
"He realises now that he has been given responsibility and is trusted to make our team tick. He knows how we want to play and what we want to do and I think he enjoys that responsibility.
"We have said in the past that, if the right player became available at the right price, then we are always going to try to improve things here, but it is very difficult, unless you are going to spend a lot of money, to buy the quality of Jonathan.
"I am not trying to replace him. I am trying to make assurances in case he does have to spend some time out.