West Ham United could yet secure the signing of Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott after manager Manuel Pellegrini seemingly relented in his stance over the England international's future.
The Chilean had previously stated Lescott would not be leaving the Etihad Stadium in the January transfer window with the club requiring cover for Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichellis, whose form and fitness having been fragile this term.
But amid reports that West Ham will break the bank to offer Lescott a contract worth £90,000-a-week Pellegrini said following City's 2-0 win over Newcastle that he could move to pastures new.
"I repeat, when this transfer window is over at the end of January, we will see what happens," the City boss said. "At the moment, Joleon will stay here with the team."
The news comes as West Ham suffered another defensive blow after James Tomkins was sent off in the 2-0 win over Cardiff City, a game which saw manager Sam Allardyce's resources further stretched but his side leap out of the relegation places.
After bringing in Roger Johnson - with James Collins and Winston Reid both out injured - on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers until the end of the season, Allardyce is optimistic at least two new players could join the club before the end of the January window.
Despite breaking a run of seven league games without a win, West Ham owner David Gold has again leapt to the defence of Allardyce, who is coming under increasing pressure from supporters with the Hammers' top flight status in jeopardy.
"Listen, you can never say never about anything but what I would say to you is that our judgement is that Sam is the man that we brought in," Gold said. "He has done everything we have asked of him.
"Compensation in football terms, that is what you do. You meet your compensation. That is not the reason [we haven't sacked him]. The reason is that we believed in the man who got us promoted and got us to tenth position last season. He is the man who brought in the players.
"Unfortunately, and forgive me for reiterating it, he is the man who brought in a centre forward [Carroll] who unfortunately had a bizarre injury that lasted six months.
"Well he is back. Although the ball at times looked like a bar of soap, it was wonderful to see him and he made the goal. That is what great players do."
"At the moment, there is a groundswell of anti-Sam feeling, but I think its 50-50," he went on. "If its 50-50, the casting vote is with the board and that's the bottom line. The bottom line is that the board is going to make the decision. If you believe that the manager has lost the dressing room that's a different matter.
"But I'm a chairman that goes to the training ground every week. I see the players. I see the players before the kick-off of every game. And I've been around the business for 24 years. Its not like I've been chairman for a few months.
"I've got to say that they are 100 per cent behind Sam. They work for him. Of course, the victory today [Saturday] was so important because morale is a big issue.
"We are in the bottom three, heads are down, everything is going wrong for us, we get a player sent off, we don't get penalties, the opposition do, the season has been a very difficult one.
"The manager - I'm sure he would agree - has had a lot of misfortune, a lot of poor luck."