Striker Darren Bent has stunned Sunderland by handing in a transfer request.
The 26-year-old has asked to leave the club he joined for an initial £10 million (Dh58m) during the summer of 2009 amid speculation that Aston Villa have tabled an £18m bid.
Sunderland, who have not confirmed Bent's request, are believed not to have accepted it at this stage.
Bent scored his 11th goal of the season in last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup third-round defeat by Notts County, but has managed just two in his last nine games and drew a blank in yesterday's 1-1 derby draw with Newcastle UNited.
He enjoyed a sensational first season at Sunderland after ending his nightmare at Tottenham, and rewarded manager Steve Bruce with 25 goals.
The former Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic frontman missed out on a trip to last summer's World Cup in South Africa, the second time he had suffered the same disappointment.
However, he scored his first senior international goal in a 3-1 Euro 2012 qualifier victory in Switzerland in September.
Bruce invested a club-record fee in excess of £13m to recruit Ghana international Asamoah Gyan to play alongside Bent in August last year.
But itt appears he now faces a fight to keep the pair together.