Southampton have confirmed versatile teenager Jacob Mellis has been recalled by Chelsea following the end of his loan spell.
The midfielder made 14 appearances for Saints after arriving on the South Coast in August, and could now find himself in the Chelsea first-team squad with the Blues losing some of their stars to the African Nations Cup.
Saints manager Alan Pardew is due to make decisions on the future of Reading winger Michail Antonio and Preston defender Neal Trotman, whose loan spells also expire in January.
Pardew has hinted he may attempt to strengthen his defence next month having been disappointed by the goals his side let in during Monday's 2-1 defeat at Colchester.
He said: "We need to nail it down in January because we can't afford to concede those type of goals anymore."