West Ham United full-back Pablo Zabaleta could hang up his boots at the end of the season.
The two-time Premier League-winner will be 34 in January, and speculation has picked up recently about his future.
The Sun report that the Argentine is ready to call time on his playing career, despite talk of a swansong stint in the Middle East.
Zabaleta joined the Hammers in the summer of 2017 after running down his contract at Manchester City.
He has served the club fairly well, and this season in particular he has come into some good form.
But the speculation refuses to die and the Hammers may well need to start planning for life after Zabaleta.
One man who’ll be hugely frustrated about the whole situation is forgotten man Sam Byram.
Byram powerless to prove his worth
Byram, a 2016 signing from Leeds United, is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest but won’t be able to prove that he can fill the void if Zabaleta decides to retire.
He is still recovering from surgery on a knee injury sustained back in September.
According to Forest boss Aitor Karanka, via football.london, Byram is still a couple of months away from a return at least.
It’ll be a massively frustrating time for Byram, who needs game time to prove he can be a hit at the London Stadium after underwhelming so far.
It’ll be extra frustrating knowing that Zabaleta’s understudy Ryan Fredericks is also out injured at the moment.
Had Byram been fit there might have been an extra emphasis on him.
For the moment he’s powerless to prove his worth to Manuel Pellegrini, and the Chilean may or may not splash out on somebody else in January if Zabaleta is indeed going to retire.