Reading have confirmed they are interested in adding Australian youngster Tom Rogic to their squad, insisting a January move is still an option.
Rogic's contract with A-League club Central Coast Mariners expires at the end of the season and the Royals have emerged as a prime target for the midfielder.
Reading attempted to sign the 20-year-old last year, but British work permit issues prevented the move and forced Rogic to return to Australia.
The youngster, who made his international debut last month, has been a key contributor for Central Coast in 2012 and Reading's director of football Nick Hammond admits the Premier League club have been following Rogic's career.
"We'll talk to the Mariners and take it from there," Hammond said. "We've been monitoring Tom closely for the past year or so and were really disappointed when we couldn't sign him because of those work permit issues.
"He's been doing really well and is a smashing lad. I have no doubt he has the potential to play in the Premier League.
"When we first tried to sign him (on a three-year deal) we were in the Championship but our opinion of him has only got higher as we have watched him continue to excel for the Mariners, who are a great club.
"I can't say whether something will happen in January but it's not impossible. That said he is (under contract) with another club who we have great respect for and we will just have to wait and see whether anything comes of it."
If Rogic moves to the Madejski Stadium, he would link up with fellow Australians Adam Federici and Ryan Edwards.
Hammond, who played alongside former Socceroo Andy Bernal during his playing days, says the Australian connection at Reading is no coincidence.
"I am big fan of the Australian mentality," he said. "Andy was a warrior, a totally relentless player who was the ultimate competitor and Adam Federici and Ryan Edwards also share the dedication and fighting qualities I admire in Australian sportsmen. Tom is no different - he is a very good character on and off field.
"Adam had a tough time early on and when you make a mistake in the Premier League it is highlighted over and over. But he showed the strength of his character to battle back and take advantage of the opportunity when it came again.
"He was good for us at the weekend against West Ham and right now he's the one in possession of the jersey."