Robbie Keane could be excluded from Tottenham Hotspur's updated squad of 25 players for the Premier League, which is to be submitted on February 1 after the transfer window has closed, if he is not transferred this month.
Keane was part of the squad for the first part of the season, but Spurs were one of the few clubs to name a full list of 25 players with the injured Jonathan Woodgate and goalkeeper Ben Alnwick left out.
Woodgate, who is available for loan, is fit again while Spurs have already added Steven Pienaar and South African international Bongani Khumalo to their squad which means manager Harry Redknapp will be forced to leave other players out of his official squad list.
If Keane cannot agree a move away from White Hart Lane - a transfer to Birmingham City collapsed - then he could be left out in the cold. West Ham are making one final attempt to sign the striker before the transfer window closes.
Any player aged over 21 outside the 25 can only play in the FA Cup, or in the Champions League if they are named in that squad. It means Spurs may have to loan him out as Monday's 2300 GMT deadline approaches after Keane insisted he would only leave on a permanent transfer.
A well placed source told ESPNsoccernet: "It is quite possible that Harry Redknapp won't even have room in their 25 for Robbie Keane. If that is the case, Spurs might want to sell the player rather than loan him out, but they won't want a player on his salary, not even in their squad."
West Ham, though, are still willing to try a last minute bid to take Keane across London to Upton Park.
The Hammers have offered a £1 million loan fee and are prepared to pick up the player's £65,000-a-week wages - but the problem is Spurs' demands for the Hammers to commit to a full transfer.
Tottenham want their London rivals to pay £6 million if West Ham stay up, though that is not the sticking point. West Ham believe that Keane must play a certain percentage of the remaining games to prove his worth to the Hammers' survival bid.
West Ham are hoping that the delay in the decision-making process for the Olympic site might take the heat out of their negotiations to bring Keane to Upton Park. But in the absence of a straight cash sale, Redknapp might relent and allow Keane to move out on loan.