Nicky Butt could join Wayne Rooney at Derby after quitting as Manchester United’s head of first team development.
The former Red Devils midfielder, 46, spent nine years in the role and as a coach at Old Trafford, bringing through the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay and Dean Henderson.
Yet it is understood Butt did not see eye to eye with new director of football John Murtough.
And while the Class of ’92 star said all the right things on his departure, his exit was still a surprise.
Butt, who played almost 400 games under Sir Alex Ferguson and was a member of the historic 1999 Treble-winning side, said: “Having come through the academy myself it has been an absolute privilege to come back and work with a new generation of talent making that same journey.
“I’m proud of the role everyone on the staff plays in giving our young footballers the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential.
“The results are clear to see in the increased number of home-grown players reaching the first team.
“I already know from my playing days how difficult it is to leave Manchester United but it feels like the right moment for a new professional challenge.
“I look forward to exploring opportunities that build on the great experiences I’ve had here over the past nine years.”