Derby County should consider selling Jason Knight to Brighton and Hove Albion if a deal includes defender Matt Clarke returning to Pride Park for a third spell at the club.
The Rams head into the summer with plenty of uncertainty.
Owner Mel Morris is actively looking to sell the club. Manager Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, has a difficult task with patching up a depleted squad while under financial restraints.
Derby are in a vulnerable position and some young assets may have to make way.
According to a recent report in The Sun, Brighton are among those looking at midfielder Jason Knight while the editorial adds Louie Sibley could also be on his way.
Knight is versatile. He can operate both as a central midfielder or out wide.
The 20-year-old made 41 Championship appearances this past season. His form prompted an international call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad where he has since made his debut.
Derby won’t want to sell him. However, Knight is among the club’s most prized assets, and a potential departure to Brighton could help the Rams in more than one way.
Derby’s defensive situation:
Wayne Rooney’s side are in danger of reaching July 1 without any senior centre-backs.
Teden Mengi, George Edmundson and Brighton’s Matt Clarke have all returned to their parent clubs after loan spells, while Curtis Davies and Andre Wisdom are out of contract.
Brighton offering cash plus Clarke on another season-long loan could help Derby enormously.
Former Portsmouth defender Clarke has proven himself to be a decent defender at Championship level. He is a popular figure at Pride Park, and a leader at the back.
Clarke’s return would be a welcome addition. Throw in some cash too, and Derby could have the means to strengthen sufficiently to cover the loss of a Knight departure.