With the signs suggesting that Gary Rowett may be left disappointed in his attempts to reunite with Maikel Kieftenbeld at Derby County, it may be no coincidence that The Rams have seemingly turned their attention towards other combative midfielders.
Derby had all but sealed the signing of Dutch enforcer Kieftenbeld from Birmingham City on transfer deadline day this summer, only for the EFL to decide that the paperwork had not been complete on time and declare the deal null and void.
And while HITC sources told us that Rowett was still keen to sign a midfielder he brought to Birmingham from Groningen in 2015, the 27-year-old has now insisted that he would be open to extending his contract at St Andrews, per the Birmingham Mail.
But no matter. It appears that Derby are covering their backs by eyeing up a couple of alternatives. The Mail stated earlier this week that the energetic Bolton Wanderers favourite Josh Vela is a target for The Rams, as well as Championship rivals Leeds United in the January transfer window.
Cash-strapped Bolton may need to sell arguably their prized asset in order to fund additions elsewhere in the squad.
The 21-year-old, like Vela, would offer a tenacious presence in the centre of the park, perhaps providing a more natural foil to Joe Ledley than the languid Tom Huddlestone.
But as it stands, it appears that Vela or Brownhill could move to Derby at the expense of Kieftenbeld.