Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says he want to keep striker Wes Thomas at the club but revealed he may be forced to let him leave the Goldsands Stadium.
Thomas, 25, has just returned from a successful loan spell at Blackpool where he scored three goals in nine appearances for the Championship club.
And Howe revealed Thomas has ambitions to play at a higher level permanently.
"We were reluctant to lose him to Blackpool the first time," Howe told BBC Radio Solent.
"But his desire to play in the Championship was such we couldn't hold him back, so we'll wait and see what happens with that one in January.
"I would love him to stay and play but the player needs to want to play for us, and as with all these things you are very much in the hands of the player."
Thomas has spent much of this season out on loan, playing for Portsmouth earlier in the season before joining Blackpool.
Blackpool were keen to extend his loan but the Cherries have so far refused, although boss Michael Appleton has not given up home of bringing him back to Bloomfield Road.
"We wanted to extend his loan, hopefully until the end of the season, but that wasn't an option from their point of view," Appleton told BBC Lancashire.
"I think they would prefer a permanent transfer.
"We did ask the question about (extending) until the end of January, until both parties were sure - whether that's agreeing on a price, agreeing personal terms, all the things that go with negotiations - but they weren't open to that either.
"As it is at the minute, he returns to Bournemouth.
"We're a little bit frustrated and he's a little bit frustrated, because I'm not sure if he'll have much involvement at Bournemouth.
"But we're still in the early part of January and I wouldn't say the door's completely closed on that one at all.
"A lot of things can happen and I'm sure there will be discussions over the next week or so."