After a few years that would test any professional footballer's mental resolve, James McCarthy experienced a major renaissance at Crystal Palace this season.
The midfielder made 33 appearances in the Premier League, playing a part in every game since the start of November. Before this, he had made only 17 league appearances in the previous three seasons combined.
A supremely talented player when he is fully fit, it was great see McCarthy thriving once again. Still only 29-years old, he could yet play a major role at international level. Stephen Kenny even recently hinted that he will be in his squad going forward.
It appears that Kenny is not the only attention he has captured with performances over the last 12 months.
According to Mail Sport, Aston Villa are eyeing a move for James McCarthy this summer. The midfielder only has 12 months remaining on his deal at Selhurst Park, with Villa believing they could sign him for as little as £5million as a result.
Dean Smith's side are in the market for some experienced players ahead of the new campaign, with the lack of Premier League knowhow costing them on a few occasions last season.
That fee would certainly represent a bargain for Villa but it remains unclear if it would tempt Crystal Palace. It would be a very low price for a player who was a key part of their team over the second half of the season and you would imagine they could look to lock him into a longer contract as opposed to moving him on.
For McCarthy, any move would have to come with assurances of consistent first team football. He missed out on three years of his prime due to repeated injury problems, and after battling his way back to full fitness he cannot afford to spend the next couple of seasons sitting on the bench.
That is especially true if he wants to play a major part in the Stephen Kenny era with Ireland. The midfield is an area where Ireland boast plenty of options at the minute, but McCarthy seems like the logical choice to start in a holding midfield position as things stand.
It will be interesting to see where this one goes in the coming weeks.