Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez could be ready to step in and save Emile Heskey's World Cup dreams by offering him a move back to Anfield in January, but only on the cheap.
Heskey has admitted he will consider his future when the transfer window reopens, if he continues to warm the bench at Aston Villa, and he has also attracted the interest of Fulham after starting just one Premier League game this season.
According to a report in the Daily Star, Benitez is considering boosting his attacking options with a £1.5 million bid for the striker to compliment Fernando Torres and he is believed to have made a move for Heskey last year, only to see him opt for Wigan.
Heskey's place in Fabio Capello's England squad is certainly under threat unless he sees more match action, although Villa boss Martin O'Neill will be reluctant to part with the targetman cheaply.
Former Villa team-mate Gareth Barry, now at Manchester City, said: "He's done fantastic for England with his partnership with Wayne Rooney. He is probably thinking about how long it can go on without playing for his club.
"The manager has made it clear that you have to be playing regularly and I am sure Emile will need to think about. When I was there Emile worked hard for the team, just like he does for England. It's that time of year when you want to be playing regularly. The World Cup is in the back of everyone's mind."
Meanwhile, Wigan owner Dave Whelan claims Heskey would be welcome back at the DW Stadium if he was to leave Aston Villa.
Whelan told Sky Sports News: "I have a great deal of sympathy for him - he is one wonderful footballer. When he is on the park you know you are going to get 110% from Emile.
"I absolutely thought he was fantastic for us but he was coming to the end of his contract but he wanted to move on so I honoured that."
''Everybody in football would like Emile somewhere in their squad. He is that kind of lad. But I'd be very surprised if Aston Villa sell him and I still think he has got a good future at Villa."