Inflated price tags in the January market mean Premier League and Championship clubs could look in the tiers below to bolster their resources.
With the transfer window under way, we look at 10 players from Leagues One and Two who are thought to be attracting interest from the tiers above.
Luke Murphy - Crewe
Crewe's famed youth academy only recently churned out a budding star in Nick Powell, who earned a big-money move to Manchester United earlier this year, and 23-year-old midfielder Murphy has been backed to follow in his footsteps with a Premier League switch. A host of Premier League and Championship clubs are thought to be pursuing the classy youngster, with Stoke and Aston Villa believed to be among those chasing his signature. Murphy has been a regular fixture for Crewe this season and has shown his eye for a goal, bagging five in all competitions.
George Long - Sheffield United
Since the departure of Steve Simonsen in the summer, teenage goalkeeper Long has slotted comfortably into Danny Wilson's starting line-up at Bramall Lane, proving a steady presence between the sticks as the Blades mount another push for promotion. Premier League big guns Manchester United and Arsenal have previously been linked with the shot-stopper but he penned a new deal last February to cool speculation over his future. However, Wilson has said he is expecting interest in the youngster, as well as centre-back Harry Maguire.
Alan Judge - Notts County
Judge has contributed a number of eye-catching performances for the Magpies this season to reportedly attract the interest of several Championship clubs, chipping in with four goals and seven assists. The talismanic midfield ace is out of contract at the end of the season and County could decide to cash in on him rather than lose him for nothing in the summer. However, manager Keith Curle has expressed his desire to hang onto the 23-year-old, dubbed the 'Irish Messi' by supporters.
Harry Forrester - Brentford
Since his release from Aston Villa in summer 2011, Forrester has been coming on leaps and bounds with the Bees - so much so that Villa are rumoured to want him back. The 21-year-old has played a key role in Brentford's climb into the promotion places, scoring eight goals from midfield in all competitions. He has been urged to stay put by manager Uwe Rosler but with his contract due to expire in the summer it could be a perfect time for his suitors to pounce. Villa are not the only club thought to be keeping tabs on the youngster, with Reading, Southampton and Celtic having all been linked.
Zoumana Bakayogo - Tranmere
French-born Ivorian full-back Bakayogo has helped Rovers to the top of the League One table with a string of fine performances and his form has not gone unnoticed by teams in the tier above. Several Championship clubs are thought to be keen, with Ipswich, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday all believed to be tracking him. His contract at Prenton Park is due to run until 2013 and Tranmere will be loathe to lose him as they push for promotion.
Lewis Grabban - Bournemouth
Grabban has provided most of the Cherries' firepower this term to help them climb the standings after joining from Rotherham in the summer, scoring 10 goals in the league. It is thought his goalscoring antics have turned heads higher in the leagues, with Bristol City being linked before the transfer window opened. The club have denied interest but speculation continues to circulate, with former club Millwall also believed to be keen on bringing him back to The Den.
Tom Pope - Port Vale
He may be a late bloomer but 27-year-old Pope has been tearing up the scoring charts for Vale this season. The towering 6ft 3in striker has already scored 23 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for the club this season as he realises his potential under Micky Adams. It remains to be seen whether his exploits have done enough to earn him interest from the higher tiers but his scoring antics are hard to ignore.
Luke Young - Plymouth
Teenager attacking midfielder Young is believed to have a number of admirers in the Championship, while there has also been Premier League buzz surrounding his name. Arsenal are thought to be monitoring the talented 19-year-old, while West Brom scouts have reportedly watched him in action on more than one occasion this season. Young, a youth product at Home Park, has been in impressive form as a key component in the Pilgrims' midfield, also showing his eye for a goal.
Nicky Walker - Rotherham
Walker has only made three senior appearances for Rotherham this season after making his debut in November but the starlet has impressed hugely at youth level to catch the eye of Premier League and Championship clubs. Among those thought to be keen are Swansea, Reading and Norwich, while in the second tier Blackpool and Charlton have been linked. At just 18, Walker is already showing his potential, scoring freely for the reserves.
Nahki Wells - Bradford
Bermudan forward Wells has been in fine form for Bradford this season and his stock rose considerably when he helped the club to a shock victory over Arsenal in the Capital One Cup. The 22-year-old's 15 goals so far this season will also have done nothing to hurt his cause and rumours have surfaced linking the youngster with a number of Championship clubs. However, Wells signed a new three-year deal at Bradford in September to suggest he could be staying put.