Graeme Hick has been given a choice as to where he plays his cricket next season after receiving an official approach from Derbyshire.
The 40-year-old Worcestershire legend and Birmingham Post columnist, whose form this summer has persuaded him to continue his county career when his four-year contract runs out at the end of the season, has already been offered a one-year extension.
But Derbyshire, run by two of Hick's former Worcestershire colleagues, coach David Houghton and chief executive Tom Sears, have muddied the waters by tempting the former England man with the offer of a two-year deal which could also see him offered the county captaincy.
Although it would cause a furore at New Road if he was allowed to sever his 22-year connection with the county, Worcestershire may yet regret not trying harder to secure the future of their record-breaking batsman a little sooner.
Houghton said: "We did make an approach to speak to Hicky. I told him if he decides he wants to play a couple of years somewhere else, there's a place at Derby for him. We'd be interested in extending his career."
Hick spoke to his old friend Houghton during Worcestershire's game with Derbyshire at Chesterfield a fortnight ago, a game in which he suffered the painful split-finger injury that kept him out of last week's Glamorgan game at Colwyn Bay and again for the start of the county's latest four-day game against Division Two leaders Surrey at New Road yesterday.
But Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton has confirmed that his suitors have acted within the rules, the initial approach for Hick's services having come some two months ago.
"Any player in the last year of their contract is allowed to talk to another county as long as we're given 28 days notice," said Newton. "We've had that from Derbyshire for Graeme Hick."
It is the same situation Worcestershire currently find themselves in with regard to their own pursuit of Warwickshire's Moeen Ali, although Newton insists that the two are not directly related.
"We've offered Graeme a one-year extension and we hope he'll give us an answer in due course. It's a big decision for him as to whether he wants to carry on playing," he said.
"It is totally unconnected to our plan to sign Moeen. He is simply a good young player who wants regular first-team cricket and who we think has a big future ahead of him."
Hick himself, the subject of interest from Hampshire four years ago just before he signed his last contract, was equally guarded, insisting all that concerns him at the moment is getting fit to play again this season.
"I spoke to David Houghton when we played Derbyshire recently and that's it really," said Hick. "Does it interest me?
I'm not going to say any more, really. I've got things to consider here first.
"It's more than likely I'll be playing cricket next year. I've got no plans to retire at the end of the season and Worcestershire have made me an offer.
"I didn't want to have another year of feeling I wasn't performing well but I'm still motivated, I've enjoyed the summer and I feel I've played well and contributed. I'm just gutted having to sit out while my finger heals, which is depressing because the side is playing really good cricket."