West Brom boss Alan Pardew has set a deadline for the sale of Jonny Evans to avoid a last-gasp scramble.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with a move for the Northern Ireland international this month.
Albion are likely to need to sell skipper Evans, valued at £30 million, to generate funds for new players who can aid their Premier League survival bid.
There have been tentative enquires but no concrete bids for the defender yet.
Pardew lost Andy Carroll as Newcastle boss when the Magpies sold the striker to Liverpool for £35m on deadline day in January 2011 and does not want to be left in the lurch again.
He said: "I'll put in a cut-off date on any transfer, for that particular reason. It damaged Newcastle at the time and it was only the response of the strikers we had behind that kept Newcastle in the division that year.
"I would say three or four days [before the Jan. 31 deadline], depending on the business we have done. We might be looking to do some business on the last day.
"I'm not saying I won't do any transfers with three days to go, but if it was a big transfer, one of the players who was very important to us and didn't give us the time to execute our plan, then no.
"It might be a situation where no one comes in and I'm going to have to react to that in terms of trying to come up with a strategy to get us the wins we desire. But the window is open and I'd like to take the opportunity if we can.''
The Baggies host Brighton on Saturday without a win in their last 20 league games and sitting second bottom and Pardew knows he needs new faces.
He said: "It wouldn't decide our fate, we have 13 or 14 games to do that, but I think it would help us. It's better for us.
"I think we are at a critical point in the season, yes. It's not lost on us as a group and a club. I don't think if we lost this game that would mean we will get relegated, by any means. There are far too many games left for that but it is a crucial game.''