West Ham United have warned Winston Reid that they aren't afraid to transfer list the contract rebel, setting a deadline of mid-January for the New Zealand international to finally put his signature on a new deal worth around £60,000-a-week.
Reid becomes a free agent at the end of the season, which unsurprisingly given the centre-back's sterling form in the early part of the campaign has led to interest in a cut-price transfer from Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.
The 26-year-old continues to play hardball in talks with the Hammers over fresh terms that have now reached deadlock, with The Times reporting that a trio of top Premier League clubs now believe they could land Reid for as little as £5 million in summer.
West Ham put lucrative offer in place
Reid's consistent level of performance in 11 Premier League appearances has forced West Ham to step up contract negotiations, putting an offer in place that would make the commanding defender the second-highest paid player at the club, behind Andy Carroll and level with club captain Kevin Nolan.
West Ham are disappointed that contract talks are still at an impasse, with a growing acceptance that one of the club's most improved performers over the last 18 months will have to be sold rather than allowed to walk away for free next summer.
- Winston Reid urged to stay at West Ham
- Arsenal view Reid as answer to centre-back headache
- Liverpool join Winston Reid race
Arsenal in desperate need of new defender
In terms of logistics and realistic starting opportunities Arsenal looks a likely destination for Reid, with the Gunners desperately short of strength in depth in his favoured position.
Arsenal could also use Reid at right-back if pushed, the position he was first asked to fill when Avram Grant brought him to Upton Park back in 2010.
A serious lack of top defenders in the Premier League means that Arsenal are far from alone in targeting Reid though, with Liverpool & United also on the lookout for a vital January addition.
Liverpool & Man United continue to ship goals
Liverpool in particular have failed to make the defensive changes many fans expected this season, with changes in personnel from Reds boss Brendan Rodgers largely failing to improve a backline which conceded a whopping 49 Premier League goals last season.
Man United meanwhile have plenty of options to play at centre-back, but a combination of crippling injury problems and inconsistent form have also left them scratching around for reliable cover in a key area.
With so many alternatives on the table its no wonder Reid is exploring his options, but interest and concrete offers are two very different things and while no bids are on the table West Ham will hope they can persuade a player at the peak of his powers to finish a promising campaign in East London at the very least.