Palermo defender Simon Kjaer is believed to be at the top of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini's wish-list.
Mancini has inherited a defensive headache as Nedum Onuoha is suffering from a calf strain that will keep him sidelined for up to four weeks.
Joleon Lescott is expected to be missing until early February after undergoing an operation to remove a piece of floating bone from his knee while Kolo Toure will be at the African Cup of Nations for most of January.
Kjaer is a 20-year-old Denmark international who is understood to have a buy-out clause in his contract worth £11million.
He made his name in his homeland with FC Midtjylland before moving to Palermo 18 months ago and has featured in 42 matches for the Serie A outfit.
Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini is also being linked with a January switch to Eastlands but Sampdoria's managing director Beppe Marotta has rubbished reports suggesting Antonio Cassano is wanted by City.
To add to Mancini's selection problems for the Stoke City game, Shaun Wright-Phillips is struggling after aggravating an ankle injury during Saturday's 4-3 victory against Sunderland.
Emmanuel Adebayor has an ankle knock while Michael Johnson had an operation on his ruptured cruciate knee ligament on Monday.