Toby Flood has confirmed to Leicester boss Richard Cockerill that he will leave the club at the end of the season.
The England man is being tipped to replace Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon if the World Cup winner calls it a day, but there are also reports that Toulouse have moved into pole position to sign the player who started his career under the wing of Wilkinson.
So the hunt for Flood’s replacement at Welford Road is on.
Players can start talking to clubs about a summer move in January, and with that in mind, it’s a good time to weigh the candidates who could fill Flood’s boots.
Would Cockerill take a chance on Cipriani?
If ever there was a player whose reputation represented everything the Leicester Tigers are not, it is the former Wasps star.
But Cipriani seems to have matured in his lifestyle and playing style since moving to Sale.
With the clamour growing for his return to the England setup, Sale may not be in a position to retain a player who will be missing for large chunks of the year, while it’s a scenario Leicester are well used to coping with.
Lamb is currently Flood’s understudy at Welford Road and gets plenty of game time in the No. 10 position, filling in when Flood is with England or injured.
Indeed, the former Gloucester and London Irishman did his standing among the Tigers faithful no harm at all when he replaced Flood during the latter stages of Leicester’s Heineken Cup visit to Montpellier, instigating the move that resulted in the winning score and knocking over five points with the boot that sealed a famous win.
One concern with Lamb may be his struggle for consistency when he is the man week after week. In his Gloucester days, he had the capacity to go from brilliant to mediocre all too often and was part of that Cherry and Whites side that always crumbled when it came to the crunch in Premiership semis and finals.
Burns is another player Cockerill has admitted an interest in, and if top choice Rhys Priestland opts to move to Gloucester, the young Englishman could make the switch to the Tigers.
Burns was in tremendous form last season but has struggled to garner the same plaudits this campaign.
He is the sort of player who would grow by joining a side like Leicester, however, and he has the talent to reclaim his place high up the England pecking order.
The Welsh exodus to the well-heeled French Top 14 has been well-documented, and Rhys Priestland looks set to be the next high-profile name out of the door.
Indeed, Cockerill has indicated Priestland is on his radar to replace Flood, so he seems favourite despite interest from Gloucester in the Scarlets playmaker.
Priestland didn’t have the best time of it during the autumn internationals, but his game is generally solid in every department.
The big cross against him is the potential for Leicester to incur punishment similar to that imposed on Northampton when they let George North play for Wales in their autumn test with Australia, which fell outside the IRB window and activated a £60,000 fine from the Aviva Premiership authorities.