Scott Heppell/Associated Press
Speculation that Everton manager Roberto Martinez is looking to offer Jack Rodwell a route out of Manchester City re-emerged on Tuesday, courtesy of Phil Thomas of The Sun (subscription required).
According to Thomas, the Goodison Park boss attempted to bring the 22-year-old back to the Merseyside club in the January transfer window, but City's failure to land Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto meant Gareth Barry's loan from the Etihad to the Blues could not be made permanent.
Current Premier League rules mean that top-flight clubs cannot recruit more than two domestic-based players on loan in one season, as Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo reported, leaving Rodwell in limbo in Manchester as Barry and Romelu Lukaku took up the loan slots.
The midfielder joined City in August 2012 in a £13 million transfer but persistent injuries plagued his time under Roberto Mancini throughout last season.
Those same injuries should also act as a warning to Martinez.
Rodwell was once linked with a £25 million move to Manchester United in March 2011, as Goal.com reported, and the youngster looked set to follow the path taken by Wayne Rooney at a tender age.
However, the player began to feel the effect of a hamstring problem and would make just 17 appearances for the Blues in what proved to be his final season at the club.
It is little wonder that then Everton manager David Moyes happily accepted the cash offer from Mancini for the player in the summer of 2012.
Rodwell's career had appeared to be on a NASA-style trajectory after his performance and goal helped to defeat Manchester United 3-1 at Goodison Park in February 2010.
A senior England call-up followed, and the player was widely expected to become an international regular before his injury worries became apparent.
Now, though, Rodwell has little chance of making the plane to Brazil this summer and potentially less opportunity of making a mark on the City first team.
There should be a tremendous amount of sympathy for the youngster after his problems of recent seasons, but Martinez is looking to strengthen his current squad to lessen the impact of injury and suspensions.
Everton were flying high and looking to be a serious challenger for a Champions League spot before injuries to key men Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu helped take their toll on their ambitions.
The Goodison Park boss must assess whether he wants to take a further risk on a notoriously injury-prone Rodwell for next season.
The player needs a summer transfer but a return to Goodison might not be the ideal switch.
Believability meter: Medium
Martinez, understandably, rates a fully fit Rodwell as a solid acquisition for the club, but this strikes us as a gamble for the Everton boss.
The former Wigan Athletic manager has enjoyed a solid first season in charge at Goodison, but he now needs to look towards securing silverware and a European place in his second year with the club.
The return of Rodwell would represent a major gamble and one which needs careful consideration before moves are made to Manchester City.