Liverpool are reportedly willing to let Sebastian Coates move to Sunderland for a fraction of the £7m they signed him for in 2011, according to the Shields Gazette.
The Uruguay international is as short as 2/5 to make his season-long loan move to the Stadium of Light permanent before the end of the transfer window, with the Reds 5/2 second-favourites to retain his registration.
Taking a hit on the fee they paid for the 24-year-old is one thing, but the Anfield club would also be letting go one of the centre-half success stories of 2014/15.
Not only that, but they would be giving up on a player they evidently thought highly of just as he began to show the kind of ability for which he was doubtless signed.
Having been farmed out to Sunderland at the beginning of the campaign, Coates seemed to be continuing his quiet existence on the Premier League periphery.
That was until he was handed a first-team lifeline by Dick Advocaat, under whom he started as many games as he had in the preceding eight months of the season.
Coates made the XI in each of the club’s last six fixtures, playing an integral part in the defence that shipped just twice across the five outings to seal their survival.
Most notably, he squired the flailing (yet far more experienced) John O’Shea through the 0-0 draw against Arsenal that ultimately saved the Wearsiders’ bacon.
Inside the final 12 months of his contract, Coates is finally showing the capabilities that led to him being voted young player of the 2011 Copa America, after a 2013/14 dogged by serious injury.
Is now – when error-prone practitioners Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho are in and around the first team and Emre Can will surely move into midfield – really the time to be ditching the Uruguayan?