Aymeric Laporte has been the subject of speculations concerning a move away from the Etihad Stadium for the last few seasons. Once one of Pep Guardiola's key men in the Manchester City defence, Laporte has continuously slipped down the pecking order. Injuries, poor form and player rotation by the manager have been largely responsible for the change in fortunes.
But the player has also given the impression that he won't mind leaving the club whenever the opportunity arises. That has added fuel to the speculation surrounding his departure from the side.
For a manager that demands total commitment, it is difficult to say if that has weighed into Guardiola's thoughts. The Catalan boss may already be looking at a future without the centre-back as he shapes his team to achieve his goals.
There are now reports in the media that the player does not want to stay at Manchester City beyond this summer and is looking to secure a move to Barcelona. He is said to be determined to leave Man City even if the destination is not Camp Nou. His former team Athletic Club could be in the running for his signature.
As Manchester City filed out against Arsenal, the central defender was left on the bench for the 13th time this year from 22 games that he has been available for. He has started just nine so far of which three have come in cup competitions and four just before bigger games that he has been left out of.
For a player that has been considered key at the club, finding himself on the fringes of the team could feel rather uncomfortable. The Spaniard has not hidden his desire to play regular football and his intention to seek that elsewhere if not available at City.
Prior to the departure of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko last summer, Laporte as with Bernardo Silva, was put in the same category of players who could leave the Etihad Stadium whenever the opportunity arose.
He may have expected his fortunes to improve entering into another campaign. But things have taken a turn for the worse with game time becoming more difficult to come by. The addition of Manuel Akanji to the group and the resurgence of Nathan Ake has pushed Laporte further to the sidelines.
When Guardiola chose to play Akanji out of position against Arsenal despite admitting it was Laporte's position, the message was driven home the more that the Spanish defender will have to accept his current situation in the team or look elsewhere for personal satisfaction.
At the moment, no one can blame the manager for his selection. City are in a good place playing some of the best football that has been seen at the Etihad Stadium, winning games and on course to make history. No one with the club's interest at heart will want the manager to disrupt the team for any player's personal interests.
Hence, Laporte May be better served by leaving the club in the summer. If he does make the decision to depart, City and Guardiola will not stand in his way as long as his valuation is met by his prospective employers.