Chelsea transfer target Kurt Zouma has been omitted from Saint-Etienne's squad for their Ligue 1 trip to Bordeaux on Sunday.
The France Under-21 international's future has been the subject of much speculation throughout the January transfer window, with Blues boss Jose Mourinho having hinted earlier this week that contact has been made over a possible deal for the defender.
Mourinho's comments came after Zouma told L'Equipe earlier this month that he would welcome a switch to Stamford Bridge.
The 19-year-old has now been left out of Christophe Galtier's 18-man squad for the game at the Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, further fuelling talk that a move could be imminent.
Zouma returned from a 10-match ban as a late substitute in his side's 2-0 win over Lille last week, and it remains to be seen whether that will be his final game for the club.
The centre-back, a product of Saint-Etienne's youth system, has quickly established himself as one of the most promising defenders in France since making his Ligue 1 debut in August 2011.