Nottingham Forest look set to oversee the surprise departure of Chema Rodriguez to UD Almeria, as per reports from Spanish media outlet AS.
The 27-year-old arrived at the City Ground on a two-year deal from Levante in the summer, as he looked to embark on his first spell in England.
The Spaniard found game time hard to come by initially due to the form of Joe Worrall and Michael Dawson, but he was then given a chance to impress after the latter picked up an injury.
Since his move to the East Midlands, Chema has made 10 appearances for Forest, and has even filled at left-back in the absences of Yuri Ribeiro and Jack Robinson of late.
This is a departure that is likely to surprise Forest fans given the amount of time the player has spent at the club, but it could allow Sabri Lamouchi to bolster his squad in preparation for the second-half of the campaign.
Can you get 14 out of 14 on this Forest quiz?
Here, we take a look at one winner and one loser as Chema nears an exit…
Winner: Yohan Benalouane
Benalouane has made just the one appearance under Lamouchi this season due to injury, but he has been back in training over the past few weeks as he nears a full first-team return.
The Tunisian will be hopeful of making an impact after coming on at half-time in the FA Cup defeat to Chelsea less than a fortnight ago, and Chema’s exit could allow him to receive more game time.
Ahead of Benalouane in the pecking order is Michael Dawson, Joe Worrall and Tobias Figueiredo, with Benalouane practically fifth choice under Lamouchi.
But with Chema seemingly on his way out, it’s one less bit of competition for Benalouane to worry about, and an injury to one of the aforementioned trio could see him right back in the mix for a first-team spot.
Loser: Michael Hefele
On the contrary, Chema’s departure could send a negative message to Michael Hefele, whose future at the City Ground looks uncertain.
The German hasn’t featured for Forest in over a year due to injury, and made only 18 appearances for the Reds under Aitor Karanka last season following his arrival from Huddersfield Town.
If Forest are happy to let Chema – a key player who has only been on the books for five months – leave this month, then what does that mean for a player who is completely surplus to requirements under Lamouchi?
It could be time for the 29-year-old to start searching for another club.