By Karl Matchett.
Tottenham Hotspur are widely acknowledged as being interested in making an additional attacking signing in January to beef out their squad, having been largely reliant on Harry Kane to lead the line throughout the first half of the season.
After some initial struggles, the England international has found scoring form again and now has 11 Premier League goals for the season, but Spurs have little in the way of alternative threats to play as a true striker, with Clinton N'Jie set for several months on the sidelines and most of their other front men more comfortable as support cast members or creators from the second line.
Spurs might have to big bid to get their top target, but there are other options potentially available who might be considered smarter buys; here are three they could look at landing in January, both with immediate impact and future growth in mind.
Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion
The undoubted first choice of Spurs; the North London club had bids for the Baggies striker turned down in summer but after the youngster has failed to build on his promising performances early on this term, the struggling Midlands club may be tempted to cash in.
Whether because of the playing and management style, his own mentality not being focused or simply not being capable of showing the consistency required at the top level, Berahino isn't performing well (or at all, in some games) for his current club and a move seems inevitable. He won't come cheap, certainly still at least £20 million, and doesn't guarantee goals or discipline at present.
Berahino has three league goals this term, the same as Eric Dier and Erik Lamela from Spurs' current squad, but with less than 750 minutes on the pitch it's clear that the best is not being seen from him yet. He'd be a risk for Spurs, but one they look willing to take.
Kevin Mirallas, Everton
Another Premier League option for Spurs would be to look at Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas. The Everton man has found game time harder to come by this season on account of the form of Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone in tandem, but is more than capable of holding his own.
It's true that he has been inconsistent at times, but Mirallas wouldn't be a starting choice for Spurs in any case; capable of playing both wide and through the centre, he's a direct-running central threat from either starting position and would give additional support to Kane in the penalty box as well as replacing him when needed.
Having started only twice this term, Mirallas shouldn't be anywhere near as costly as he might have been a year ago, and the 28-year-old will likely jump at the opportunity to move on as he hopes to secure a spot in Belgium's Euro 2016 squad. A loan move with a purchase clause at the end of the season would possibly be a realistic option.
La Liga loans
Another consideration for Spurs would be to forget an established name transfer and look abroad for short-term options, those who are either struggling for game time and could provide a goal threat from wide or else who could cover for Harry Kane as a second-choice striker. Or, of course, both ideally.
There are a handful of prospects who fit the mould in Spain, with Barcelona almost certain to let one of their two young forward prospects go on loan; Munir and Sandro have both shown flashes of talent but when given almost two months of consistent game time this season due to Leo Messi's injury, neither forced their way into the XI with great displays. Both can create and score, but perhaps a spell elsewhere will give them the push they need to find consistency.
Villarreal's Samuel Garcia has been similarly disappointing and unable to get regular game time; he's a very direct player who can play either as a winger or a pacy striker and showed last year at Malaga that he has goals in him. Real Madrid's Russian winger Denis Cheryshev is in a similar situation-he clearly has bucket-loads of talent and final-third end product, but going head-to-head with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale for game time makes any consistent game time tricky to come by.
Wherever they look, Spurs have to strike the right balance of players who can contribute to goalscoring, play as a central striker and fit in with Mauricio Pochettino's game plan. Spurs are in the top four and look a reasonable outside bet for a title shout in a strange and unpredictable Premier League season-one new signing with a big impact in a short space of time could make all the difference.