Stern John could be made available on the cheap when the transfer window swings open next month.
And his wish could be granted if Saints are unable to extricate themselves from the crippling debts which are threatening to plunge the south coast club into administration.
Southampton are now £27.5 million in debt and chairman Rupert Lowe has warned fans he may be forced to cash in on the club's star players in the January sales.
Striker Adam Lallana and midfielder Andrew Surman – who could fetch a combined fee of £3.5m – have been put up for sale and Saints will also look to offload Trinidad & Tobago star John.
Unable to afford the striker's wages, Southampton allowed John to join City on loan in October. That arrangement ends at the end of December, but John is unlikely to return to St Mary's.
Barely able to scrape together enough day-to-day working capital, Southampton are seeking a quick sale and are expected to make last season's 20-goal top scorer available at a fraction of his true market value.
And that might just tempt City manager Gary Johnson.
Chairman Steve Lansdown will make funds available for team strengthening, but money is an issue and Johnson will be encouraged to spend carefully.
He may have to sell before he can buy and the club is prepared to listen to offers for right-back Bradley Orr and striker Steve Brooker.
Doncaster Rovers signed Brooker on loan last week, only for the injury-prone forward to break down in training on Monday. Brooker suffered a torn calf muscle and returned to Bristol for treatment.
But Doncaster are still paying his wages and he could return to Yorkshire to continue his rehabilitation next week.
City boss Johnson is refusing to discount Brooker joining Doncaster on a permanent basis in January, but admits the situation will be goverened by the speed of his recovery.
"It's difficult to say what will happen next," admitted the Londoner.
"We'll just have to see how long he takes to recover and then go from there.
"If it's frustrating for us and for Doncaster, just imagine how Steve is feeling himself," added the Bristol City boss.