When Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka told Eric Lichaj that he was surplus to requirements it was seen as a surprise for some supporters.
The Amercian defender had served the club with distinction since arriving in 2013 and naturally, some were saddened.
In five years with the Reds, he made 173 appearances and was always renowned for being one of the more committed players.
Lichaj moved to Hull City during the summer and their form since he arrived has been nothing short of atrocious. The Tigers sit 23rd in the Championship which asks the question as to whether Lichaj has perhaps found his level.
During his time at the City Ground, the Reds never finished higher than 11th, whilst there was very nearly relegation on two occasions.
Of course, you can’t say that one player was the sole problem. Indeed, Lichaj was always a trier, a leader, and he did play with some very average players during his time at the club.
It does make you wonder, however, whether Karanka identified that in order to progress he had to offload players such as Lichaj. Tendayi Darikwa is growing in stature with each game at Forest, whilst Saidy Janko has also done a job at times this season.
Meanwhile, Lichaj is plugging a gap wherever he can for the Tigers having played in each defensive position this season. In fairness, his versatility was always one of his strongest attributes at Forest.
The fact that Lichaj was offloaded represents a real sign of the times at Forest. Karanka has been tasked with reviving the glory days at the City Ground and average players simply won’t do anymore.