West Ham United's search of the free agent market may have yielded another possible recruit as reports suggest the club have opened talks with Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz.
Having been unable to secure any further additions to his squad before transfer deadline day, Sam Allardyce has turned his attention to those players who failed to earn themselves a new deal at their clubs during the summer, one of them being Carlton Cole who the Hammers themselves released just three months ago.
However it would appear Cole has failed to impress his former employers and has not been offered a contract due to his lack of fitness, as revealed by co-owner David Sullivan's son Jack.
West Ham had given clear signals suggesting Cole will sign a short term contract this week, but the club are yet to clarify the situation after a medical was held on Wednesday.
Given their dearth of addition striking options, the club may now turn their attention to other targets. While another striker remains a priority, the club are also reportedly interested in recruiting former Chelsea defender Boulahrouz.
The 31-year-old signed a two year contract with Sporting Lisbon last summer but the Portuguese club confirmed the defender's exit after both agreed to a mutual termination earlier this week.
The versatile Boulahrouz, who has amassed 35 caps for Holland, has quickly garnered the attention of Allardyce, the Metro report, and is keen to add the experienced defender to his squad.
The powerful Dutchman's arrival at Upton Park would shore up the manager's defensive options, but he is still faced with the more problematic issue of securing another striker.
Despite expressing reservations over the club's ability to sign new players without selling first, the club confirmed this week they had missed out on three international strikers on transfer deadline day, all of whom opted for moves to clubs competing in Europe this season.
Other than Andy Carroll, who has been injured throughout the summer but could return after the international break, West Ham's only other striking options consist of Modiba Maiga and Ricardo Vaz Te, the latter whom tried to find a move away from the club before deadline day.
In a peculiar move, the club suggested a deal for Cole was completed before a medical had been held. Midfielder Kevin Nolan even discussed the striker's return in an interview with the club's official website, confidently speaking about the prospect of playing alongside his old teammate.
"We will see how fit he is over the next week or so, but it's just great to have the big lad back," Nolan said. "Hopefully everything will get done in the next couple of days."