Defender Phil Jagielka has indicated his future at Everton is uncertain as he enters the final twelve months of his contract at Goodison Park; a statement which could put Sunderland on alert.
The 34-year-old told Sky Sports of his wish to fight for a place in Ronald Koeman's side next season but acknowledged the continued rebuilding at Everton may see his opportunities limited or see him heading for the exit:
You can never say never but I am looking forward to finishing off the season well, having a break and then coming back all guns blazing and trying to keep hold of my place in the team.
It is not really about me and what I hope. Obviously I will get time off with the rest of the lads and prepare myself to go back for pre-season and see where the land lies.
With Everton continuing to be linked with Burnley's Michael Keane and Southampton's Virgil van Dijk this could be the summer in which Jagielka finally leaves Merseyside.
Captain at Goodison, Jagielka was linked with a move to Sunderland during the January transfer window but following talks over his future remained with the Merseyside club. Ultimately David Moyes drafted in Joleon Lescott in a short-term deal which has seen the veteran play no part in the Black Cat's run-in.
Reports at the time claimed Jagielka's representatives had spoken with David Moyes about a switch to the Stadium of Light but the centre-half opted to stick with Everton to fight for his place in the Toffees' back line.
Moyes is also understood to have enquired after Jagielka last summer when he first arrived at Sunderland. So could it be a case of third time lucky with the former England defender finally landing at the Stadium of Light this summer?
A reunion with Moyes is a natural one to ponder considering Jagielka played under the Sunderland boss for nine years at Goodison Park.
Jagielka has started 25 games for Everton this season but spent a couple of months on the bench unable to force his way into Koeman's side. But the player who turns 35 in August has finished the season strongly, starting in each of the Toffees' last nine games after injuries to fellow defenders.
He could so easily have been battling Sunderland man Lamine Kone for a spot in the Blues' back-line had David Moyes not blocked the Ivorian's move to Goodison Park last summer.
The prospect of Kone moving to Everton now looks dead as the former Lorient defender ponders overtures from a selection of Premier League clubs in the next layer down of the top-tier - chiefly West Brom and Crystal Palace.
And Sunderland will likely be in the market for more than one centre-back this summer with Jason Denayer set to return to Manchester City following his loan spell, Joleon Lescott likely to be released and Papy Djilobodji indicating he may leave the Stadium of Light too.
Jagielka is also being linked with a return to newly promoted Sheffield United for next season - the club at which he began his career. The Manchester-born defender moved to Everton from the Blades a decade ago. Chris Wilder has overseen the Bramall Lane outfit's return to the Championship and will be looking to strengthen his side this summer.