After failing to secure Championship survival last season, it seemed almost inevitable that defender Semi Ajayi would leave Rotherham United this summer. So, when the Nigerian international completed a £1.5 million move to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, it was hardly a surprise.
Ajayi was one of Rotherham's standout performers in their brave, but ultimately ill-fated battle against the drop. He scored an impressive 7 goals in 46 appearances and the Millers' loss will certainly be the Baggies' gain.
With the 2019-20 season under two weeks away, Rotherham manager Paul Warne is likely to be dipping into the transfer market to fill the very large hole left by Ajayi. Here's who he might be keeping an eye on.
Curtis Tilt (Blackpool)
One of the worst kept secrets this summer has been Warne's pursuit of Blackpool defender Curtis Tilt. The 27-year-old was a stalwart at the heart of the Seasiders' defence last season making 42 appearances in all competitions.
Warne is a known admirer of Tilt and has admitted he'd love to bring him to the New York Stadium.
However, according to the Blackpool Gazette, Pool won’t be entertaining any offers for the 27-year-old, who has also been offered an improved contract to remain with the club.
“He (Tilt) ticks all the boxes for me as a central defender,” Warne told the Rotherham Advertiser. "At this moment, it looks like he will be playing his football at Blackpool next season.”
Ben Heneghan (Sheffield United)
If the Millers do fail in their attempt to land Tilt, how about his 2018-19 defensive partner Ben Heneghan?
The 25-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Bloomfield Road, has a year left on his contract at parent club Sheffield United.
However, Heneghan has been placed on the transfer list by the newly-promoted Premier League outfit.
The defender is likely to attract plenty of interest after an impressive season with the Seasiders. He has admitted his aim was to play in the Championship but told the Blackpool Gazette he's open to a return to League One.
“Ideally I would love to play in the Championship, that is my aim, there’s no denying that.
“I’ve just got to see what happens but wherever I go, all I want to do is play football week in, week out because that’s what I love.”
Marvin Ekpiteta (Leyton Orient)
After an impressive season in the National League, Marvin Ekpiteta may well be on Warne's shortlist to replace Ajayi.
The 23-year-old was a stand-out performer last season making 40 appearances as he helped the O's to the National League title.
Ekpiteta is quick and strong with the ability to bring the ball out from defence, qualities which Ajayi displayed during his time at Rotherham. He's also shown he can chip in with a few goals, netting six times last term. Could he be a ready-made replacement?
Warne himself started his career in non-league before starting his professional career at the age of 23 and is a known admirer of players who follow that route.
"I love a kid from non-league. It's a bit like my own story." Warne told the Sheffield Star.