Chelsea are hopeful that Charly Musonda can return to train with the Under-23s development squad in the next week or two after he stepped up his recovery from injury, but his future remains unclear.
The 24-year-old has long been regarded as one of the most exciting talents to come off the Cobham talent production line, but a knee injury has threatened his career.
It is understood that Musonda is already doing solo ball work and hired his own personal fitness and conditioning coach ahead of a return to team training.
Ideally, Musonda hopes to prove his fitness ahead of a chance alongside fellow academy graduates in Frank Lampard's first-team.
Upon his imminent return, Musonda is keen to make up for lost time having lost 15 months of his career to injury. He detailed his struggles in a heartfelt Instagram message back in October.
“It’s been four years since I played back to back professional games, three years since I last played for my club, two of those last four years, I’ve been injured with the post cruciate ligament of my knee,” he wrote. “Nothing but heartbreak and heartache.
“Doctors told me going through surgery after being out for so long would be the end, an impossible mountain to climb, were the exact words. This is my story and how I keep training and staying ready, despite the odds, one day I’ll be back.”
A January loan move is unlikely with the Belgium Under-21 international needing to prove his fitness first through potential match action in Premier League 2.
The Blues are also reluctant to send him away on a temporary deal with only 18 months left on his current, and they face pressure from UEFA's new loan limits from next season.
There has been no conversation on Musonda's future, but both the player and club could come to an agreement that a permanent move away is best for him.
Musonda has played just seven times for Chelsea and he has had loan spells at Celtic and Vitesse.
Former academy coach Adi Viveash said in a summer interview with Goal that Musonda can still realise his potential.Getty Images
"When we signed Charly Musonda at 16, he was probably labelled by many in the game as the best in the world at his age," Viveash said. "He came into Cobham when you already had Jeremie Boga and Charlie Colkett there. They made each other all better.
"With Charly, I sensed he always had that steely determination to reach the top. I presented at the Belgian FA after Charly had signed and it was part of the deal. He was lucky that he had exceptional coaches at a young age in Anderlecht.
"He was seen as the next [Eden] Hazard. They expected him to be in Belgium's first-team at 17 when things don't go quite to plan for world-class talents as youngsters then that can cause them some issues.
"I think in the first year at Chelsea in the academy, he learned to work hard because he was competing with Colkett and Boga who were outstanding as well. He believes that he is a Chelsea first-team player and that he can show Frank Lampard, Jody Morris and Joe Edwards who know him well, that he can give them something different.
"While he has been out, there has been the emergence of [Billy] Gilmour and [Callum] Hudson-Odoi, it is getting harder. [Hakim] Ziyech is in from Ajax, but he will still believe that his destiny is to be at the highest level of the game.
"If you have that inside you then you have a great chance of achieving your game. I think Charly Musonda will definitely make it at the top level of the game. He is an outstanding talent."