Everton manager David Moyes is looking to solve his growing midfield problems with a move for free agent Thomas Hitzlsperger.
Moyes went ahead with a decision to allow Ross Barkley to join Sheffield Wednesday on a month's loan earlier this week despite losing Darron Gibson to a ruptured thigh muscle.
Gibson will be out for another two to three weeks after suffering the injury in the 2-0 defeat at West Brom on September 1.
Moyes believes Barkley will benefit from regular first-team experience in the Championship, but desperately needs cover in the short term.
His attempt to bring in Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe on loan from Brugge was thwarted by FIFA when the Belgian club failed to submit their paperwork for the deal before the transfer deadline passed.
Hitzlsperger, 30, can sign for a club outside the transfer window because he is out of contract, having left Wolfsburg at the end of last season.
The former Germany midfielder began his senior career in England with Aston Villa, having joined the club from Bayern Munich's youth team, and also had a season at West Ham.
"I'm a bit worried we do need cover," Moyes told the Daily Mail. "I've got to look at players who are out of contract to give us some cover over the next few months. There are not many around but I am looking without having anything specific at this time.
"The time is right to further Ross' development. It's not ideal as we need another midfielder, but I have to think longer term and he is ready for proper football. I want to see how he develops."