Latrell Mitchell's chances of staying at the Sydney Roosters appear slimmer than ever after it was confirmed he wouldn't return to training with the NRL club.
Mitchell was due to return to pre-season training on Monday for the first time since the club pulled an offer off the table for 2021 last November.
However, they have since moved to stop an almost-certain media circus, with star centre being granted leave not to appear.
"Sydney Roosters player Latrell Mitchell has been granted a leave of absence, excusing him from all training commitments," the club said in a statement on Sunday night.
Mitchell hasn't been back on official duties with the Roosters since winning last year's premiership.
The 22-year-old turned out for the Kangaroos for their end-of-year Tests, before he and the rest of the club's international stars had their leave end over Christmas.
Off-contract at the end of 2020, Mitchell has been linked with the Wests Tigers, Canterbury, North Queensland, Gold Coast and South Sydney.
The Rabbitohs now seem the most likely destination, although they have previously moved to distance themselves from the talented back.