Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has refused to dismiss making an approach for Manchester City and England central defender Joleon Lescott during the transfer window.
Lescott, a life-long Villa supporter, is out of favour at the Etihad Stadium and Lambert has described the 30-year-old as "a top player".
Lambert says he will be backed in the transfer market by owner Randy Lerner as he bids to strengthen his squad although he is aware that Lescott would need to take a wage cut for a deal to go ahead.
"Joleon has been a top player and still is," said Lambert.
"He's a top, top player. He's not getting a game at Manchester City at the minute.
"As I've said before, I will sit with the rest of the staff and see what I can do.
"But I don't think you can ever dismiss it any level whenever you are talking about a top player."
However despite Lambert's interest, City manager Roberto Mancini appears highly unlikely to sanction a move with centre-back Kolo Toure heading to the Africa Cup of Nations alongside his brother Yaya.
When asked directly about Lescott, Mancini said: "We don't have enough players to play 40 days without Yaya, without Kolo, with eight players injured. We need players in, not out."
Looking ahead to the remainder of the month, Lambert added: "There are names we're trying to do. I think everyone has said it's a really tough window in January.
"We won't just get people in for the sake of getting them in - there is ridiculous money and that sort of thing.
"That's not something I'll do but there's one or two that we will try to.
"People go on about age and all that. If players want to do it and are hungry then we're open to that. I'll just see, I'll wait and see."
Lambert insists he continues to have a strong relationship with Lerner despite the club's struggles in the league.
He said: "I speak to the chairman all the time. I speak to him every week really. There's never a problem.
"He's been great, he really has. He said himself that this was always going to be a really tough year because of the transition."