Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says Michael Obafemi's lack of consistency has seen him fall down the pecking order.
The Republic of Ireland is subject to interest from Blackburn Rovers, after they sold Adam Armstrong to Southampton for £15million (€17.7m).
However, Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has dampened suggestions that a £5million (€6m) deal for Obafemi is imminent.
"He’s a centre forward, a lad who can score goals, is fast, mobile," Mowbray said, "I don’t like to think about signing until I’ve spoken to them, felt their personality and character.
"I’ve had lots of players in my office before thinking we might sign them but then I’ve decided after five minutes we’re not because his human qualities didn’t shine through.
“Michael Obafemi, I don’t know the lad other than what he’s done on the football pitch from all the videos I’ve watched.
"I need to speak to him and get a feeling of the human being.
“I’m not fighting that situation. We have got five or six centre forwards that we might sign so I don’t sit here concerned about it. I sit here knowing that one will drop in."
Mowbray is unlikely to have his opinion improved by the appraisal of Obafemi's current boss Hasenhuttl.
🎥 "I've seen what he can do on the football pitch...but I need to speak to him and get a feel of the human being"
"You've not had any conversation with him yet?"
"No"#Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray with the latest on transfer target Michael Obafemi#Rovers / #bbcfootball pic.twitter.com/ZxC7blrl3y
— BBC Sport Lancashire (@BBCLancsSport) August 12, 2021
Speaking ahead of their season opening trip to Everton, the Saints boss said, "He is our player, and a young player with potential who, so far, had a few good games in the Premier League, but never made the really consistent season so far."
Following his Premier League debut in 2018, Obafemi became a useful squad player under Hasenhuttl during the 2019-20 season, scoring 3 goals in 21 games.
However, he was restricted to just 57 minutes of top flight football last season, with each of his four appearances coming as a substitute.
Shane Long has returned to St. Mary's after his loan spell at Bournemouth, while Southampton have replaced Danny Ings with Armstrong and Chelsea youngster Alejandro Borja.
"Especially in this position we have very, very much alternatives that doesn't make it easier for him to play," Hasenhuttl told his first press conference of the season.
"We need every player this season. If he stays, he must fight hard for his position and we want him to be in and around the group.
"And finally then, when we see he is not in the race for starting, then we can discuss what is the best for him.
"But I don't want to make the mistake, like last season, that I let players go when I think we have use for them."