Stewart Downing admits former team-mate David Wheater could be forced to leave Middlesbrough.
Teessider Downing departed his home-town club last year for Aston Villa, and Wheater has been linked with the same move in January.
Wheater is out of contract at the end of the season, and although Boro have confirmed they would like to see him stay, they may have to sell.
Boro are looking highly unlikely to mount any sort of challenge to return to the Premier League and, as such, they may not be able to afford to keep Wheater and could see him move for free in the summer.
And Downing admits that no matter what happens, it will not be easy for Redcar-born Wheater.
"I wanted to play for Boro in the Premier League and be successful, I always said that," Downing admitted.
"We were doing quite well for a while and, looking back, I think we were a little bit unlucky to be relegated.
"We had a few injuries and things like that and couldn't quite get over the line.
"We got relegated and I wanted to play at the highest level but it was hard to leave.
"Knowing Wheats, he'll want to stay, 100%. But he might be forced to move.
"The club may be forced to accept an offer because he's out of contract in the summer.
"I would think the new manager will have to raise cash if he wants to strengthen the team in January."
Downing has not doubts that Wheater, who has previously been called up by England, will not be short of admirers.
"He's good on the ball and in the air and has got a couple of seasons in the Premier League under his belt, so there'll be no shortage of interest in Wheats," Downing continued.
"I'm sure teams will be keeping an eye on the situation but I think he might want to stay.
"There was talk of him coming to Villa when I came here and he was also linked with Everton but I don't think the chairman wanted to sell both of us at the same time.
"He will want to play at the highest level but I don't think he'll want to leave Teesside.
"He'll also be thinking 'I've had a taste of England and I want it again'. He'll want to do that with Boro but it's going to be hard for the club to go up this season."