With Tim Howard ruled out for five weeks with a torn calf muscle, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he is looking for goalkeeping cover this winter.
However, with compatriot Joel Robles deputising for the moment, the Spaniard has insisted that he is not after a quick fix and is instead looking for someone who could be a long-term option at Goodison Park.
"In January, the goalkeeping situation is something we need to look into," he said in his press conference ahead of the club's FA Cup third-round tie with West Ham United on Tuesday night.
"But it is not about bringing in players just for the sake of it,” he added. "I would rather make it a long-term signing. I don't think short-term would be a solution for us now."
With Howard himself now 35 and enduring a fair amount of criticism for his performances this season, talk has been mounting in recent months that the Toffees need to find a suitable alternative to the American shot-stopper sooner rather than later.
That in mind, one potential option which Martinez would be wise to consider is Howard’s international teammate Bill Hamid who, according to reports in the US, is drawing interest from a host of English and Italian clubs.
Long-considered one of the most promising talents in MLS, Hamid established himself as D.C. United’s first-choice keeper in 2011 aged just 20 and has since made 115 regular-season appearances for his hometown club.
He experienced his best campaign to date in 2014, posting career highs in both clean sheets  and wins , as well as leading the league’s starters in save percentage [75%], to help United finish atop the Eastern Conference and win himself the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Earning his second international cap against the Republic of Ireland in November, the Virginia-native would have had more US opportunities at this point were it not for the presence of Howard, Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan and fellow MLS star Nick Rimando, but his recent performances have led to suggestions that he could be in contention to start come Russia 2018.
Still just 24, Hamid has a lot more development ahead of him and, considering his recent growth, it’s not at all farfetched to suggest that he could become a certified Premier League star in the future due to his fantastic reflexes, composure, leadership and dominance in the air.
Howard has even spoken of his compatriot in glowing terms in the past, while his protégée has admitted to once owning the email address ‘YoungTimHoward@ …’ as a teenager.
“When you're young, it's easy to be a good goalkeeper with potential, but not many pan out," Howard told ESPN in 2012. "A lot of people have high hopes for him and it's important he keeps his head down and works hard.
"Sometimes it's like looking in a mirror,” he continued. “I see him doing certain things I can vividly remember myself doing, good or bad."
Added Hamid: "A goal of mine is to one day play for a big London club, a big Premiership team like Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea.
“In that respect, I definitely lean on his advice and his words. I look up to him as a mentor."
Having trained with West Bromwich Albion during two previous offseason training stints, Hamid already has experience of working in a Premier League environment, and most MLS fans would declare that he is now ready to make the jump across the Atlantic.
While it still might be too soon for a regular starting job in the English top-flight, learning behind Howard at Goodison Park in the meantime would serve as an ideal scenario and one which the promising keeper would no doubt relish.
Considering his lack of international caps, work permit issues could well crop up, but there’s no doubt that Martinez should at least attempt to bring over a prospect who could well end up developing into the club’s long-term option between the posts.