Sunderland's pursuit of Leonardo Ulloa looks to have ground to a half, leaving David Moyes looking at back-up striking options.
A third, and seemingly final, bid for the Leicester City striker, of around £8million, has been rejected as Moyes seeks striking reinforcements.
Victor Anichebe's injury has coincided with some of Sunderland's worst and most insipid performances of the season.
It is clear to all watchers that they simply must find a way to replace him. But with finances - and time - precarious, what can they realistically look to do? Here are a few options should they be unable to resurrect the Ulloa deal...
Doesn't have a strong recent Premier League pedigree but is another experienced campaigner who could add some presence up front.
Injury-hit, he will be allowed to leave Everton today. Could Moyes go back to his old club AGAIN?
Southampton are keen on keeping hold of the forward, especially with Charlie Austin sidelined, but have been strongly linked with a big-money move for Napoli hitman Manolo Gabbiadini.
Reports earlier today claimed Sunderland and West Brom had been knocked back after enquiring over Rodriguez's availability, but should the Saints sign Gabbiadini, they may be willing to cash in on the England international.
He could be available for around £12million.
Another player who has interested Sunderland in the past.
Would probably command a similar fee to Ulloa but aged just 25, has the potential to become a player Sunderland could make a profit on.
Unproven in the Premier League but is a target man with an eye for goal, impressing on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes this season. Drew a blank for Mali in the African Cup of Nations and has now not scored since a hat-trick in October, but the Black Cats are in a position where any move they could afford would be a gamble.
Clearly not a player who could step into Anichebe's role, but would add some craft and guile up front.
Like Joleon Lescott, his addition would merely be a case of adding experience in the case of another injury disaster.
There would be question marks over the physical demands of the Premier League but as Jermain Defoe has already shown in recent years that finishing instincts never leave.
58% of 2000 Echo readers polled said this is a deal they would like to see come off.
Scour the continent for a loan
Sunderland still have room to add a foreign loan, and it may be wise to use that on a stop-gap replacement for Anichebe.
Other strikers without a club
Didier Drogba; Dimitar Berbatov