It's very possible that by week's end Sebastien Le Toux will no longer be the face of the Union.

A Union official confirmed to the Daily News a report that English Premier League side Bolton has met with Le Toux and could offer the Union a hefty transfer fee for the two-time MLS Fair Play award winner. Le Toux is the Union's all-time leading scorer, with 25 goals and 20 assists in two seasons.

According to a team source with knowledge of the situation, as of late last night, preliminary discussions had commenced but there is no official offer on the table at this time. Before the release of the FoxSoccer report, Le Toux, a 28-year-old Frenchman, posted on Twitter that he was traveling on a jet plane to England, further affirming Bolton's interest — interest that could coincide with some first-team training.

These talks arrive at the perfect time as Bolton nears the end of January's European transfer window. Le Toux already holds a European Union passport, which would make for a seamless acquisition of an English work visa.

Union manager Peter Nowak and assistant John Hackworth offered no official comment on Le Toux's situation. However, the source said the staff did allow Le Toux to take a chance on playing in Europe because "it's not too late to compete at that level for a player of his caliber."

Le Toux does have previous European experience. He played professionally for FC Lorient of the French second division (2004-06) before coming to the United States and making his name with the Seattle Sounders in USL-1. His pedigree makes him the perfect bargaining chip, and, according to the source, Bolton would have to make the Union an offer it couldn't refuse for Philadelphia to declare bon voyage to its offensive spark.

The Union was full of news yesterday, announcing it didn't renew the options of defenders Ryan Richter and Joe Tait, midfielder Morgan Langley and forward Levi Houapeu. Of the four, it appears Houapeu and Richter, the Atlantic 10 player of the year from La Salle, have landed on their feet: Both received trial offers with D.C. United, which opened camp today.

Richter, an All-America forward with the Explorers who had a tough time adjusting to a desired defensive role, told the Daily News yesterday via text that he is "getting the chance to attack" with United and that he's "excited to try and find his way" onto coach Ben Olsen's roster.

Additionally, the loss of Houapeu and Tait frees up a pair of international roster spots.

One has to wonder if there soon will be a connection between the news of Le Toux's potential move and the release of four players, opening the door for the acquisition of a potential giant.

Paunovic calls it quits

The Union announced the retirement of midfielder Veljko Paunovic, ending an 18-year career that spanned five countries. Paunovic, 34, cited personal reasons for his decision. He has dealt with the passing of a few family members in recent months, but it's not known if that is related to his decision.

Paunovic signed with the Union last June and had three goals and three assists in 17 matches. His last match was in the club's second playoff game against Houston.

"I want to thank the great Union family for welcoming me from the very first day that I came here," he said. "I've been so many places around the world and I have never felt as happy as I have been here. It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from soccer due to family reasons but I will never forget the Union fans and the atmosphere at PPL Park every game."

The loss of Paunovic now opens three international roster spots. MLS allows for a maximum of eight, but not before its March 1 roster compliance date.