Dedryck Boyata has returned to Manchester City after the Premier League champions terminated his loan spell at FC Twente.
Boyata, 22, has not played for City since May 2011 after spending last season on loan at Bolton before joining Twente.
Although City are short of fit and available defenders, they suggested they will let the Belgium international leave again.
"The Belgian defender could well continue his education at another club in the coming weeks having played just eight games for Steve McClaren's side," a statement on City's website said.
City manager Roberto Mancini is currently without Kolo Toure, who will represent Ivory Coast in the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, and the injured Micah Richards and Maicon.
City have also loaned Italian striker Luca Scapuzzi out for the rest of the season, with the 21-year-old joining Serie B side Varese.
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