Moeen Ali, the England allrounder, looks set to leave Worcestershire, with a host of clubs understood to be interested in signing him.
Moeen, 29, is in the last year of his deal with Worcestershire and, while talks with the club are ongoing, there is a resignation among some at New Road that they will not be able to compete with the offers available elsewhere. ESPNcricinfo understands that Hampshire, Middlesex and Warwickshire all wish to talk to Moeen and are expected to make 28-day approaches for him once the window for such approaches opens on April 11.
Realistically, though, it would be a surprise if he did not return to Warwickshire ahead of the 2018 season. He came through the club's youth system, signed for them when he was 15, made his first-class debut for them in 2005 and recently bought a house a couple of miles from their Edgbaston home. His brother, Kadeer, is also on the coaching staff.
Worcestershire have been good to Moeen. Joining the club at the end of the 2006 season, he was given every opportunity to find his feet as a batsman despite some lean times. He also benefited from bowling plenty of overs that might have been denied him had he remained at Warwickshire. And, at a time when clubs were still feeling their way in matters of cultural sensitivity, Worcestershire were quick to provide Moeen with room to pray and made allowances to ensure he did not wear any kit with the branding of a supplier from the alcohol industry.
But now, as a seasoned international player, he is at the stage of his career where he wants to play Division One cricket as much as possible. That is likely to happen more often at Edgbaston than New Road. It is also likely that Warwickshire will be able to pay more than Worcestershire.
The signing makes sense from a Warwickshire perspective. While Jeetan Patel has shouldered the spin-bowling duties at the club for the best part of a decade, he will be 37 next month and is probably coming to the end of his career. Moeen might solve some of Warwickshire's issues with their top-order batting, especially in white-ball cricket, too.
Retaining players is likely to be an issue for Worcestershire over the next couple of years and England Lions wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke is another gaining approving looks from other counties. While he is not out of contract at the end of the season, he is understood to be keen to keep wicket - Ben Cox is first choice at New Road - and will have no shortage of offers if he does become available.