With Winston Reid's contract set to expire at the end of this season, West Ham United appear to have started to identify potential replacements.
The 26-year-old New Zealand international can pen a pre-contract agreement with a club of his choice in January, meaning the Hammers would receive no transfer fee for his departure - and manager Sam Allardyce needs a contingency plan.
According to reports in November, West Ham sent scouts to watch Austrian centre back Aleksandar Dragovic on international duty, with the Dynamo Kiev star attracting interest from a number of clubs.
A former star with Basel, Dragovic has also been eyed by Manchester United and Spartak Moscow this season, and he has admitted that he is ready to leave Ukraine - but it's not all good news for West Ham.
Reports in Italy suggest that Juventus are ready to tie up a deal for Dragovic, and whilst the player himself says no deal has been reached, he made it clear that he wants to move to either England, Germany or Italy.
"This is an important moment of my career," said Dragovic. "I feel I'm ready to jump, to play my cards in an important club of another league. Knowing the interest of teams of the highest level makes me happy, when I remain focused on my role to Dynamo."
"We're talking three leagues which are undoubtedly very interesting. I do not have an order of preference, I just want to go to a nation where I will play games," he added "At Dynamo, my performance has grown and I feel I have reached the degree of right maturity. In Italy already in January? This decision is entirely up to me. But it is my desire to make the leap and to measure myself with a top club."
Spartak, managed by Dragovic's former Basel boss Murat Yakin, opened the bidding at £12m last month, and whilst it would be an ambitious signing for West Ham, the growing interest in Dragovic means that it's becoming increasingly unlikely that he'll be moving to Upton Park.
That leaves Allardyce to look for other alternatives, with Fulham's Dan Burn and Dragovic's international centre back partner Martin Hinteregger also linked.