It's a position that Blackburn Rovers can ill-afford to make a rash judgement over.
Replacing Tosin Adarabioyo may have seemed a relatively straightforward task a couple of months ago but the harsh financial reality that the coronavirus pandemic has instilled leaves Tony Mowbray and his recruitment team tackling a turbulent shopping window in a very altered landscape.
Even the loan market poses its challenges with Premier League clubs holding out for loan clubs to pay a full percentage of a players wages. Had the Adarabioyo deal arose this year rather than last, negotiations would have been considerably trickier.
Rovers have funding available but Mowbray is all too sensible to blow it all at once and will work within his limitations. The Rovers chief and his team of scouts, analysts and operations managers have approached this window with meticulous care and it's hoped that their hard work behind the scenes will eventually be rewarded with several successful acquistions.
Links have emerged with a host of goalkeepers, but it's in the centre-back area where rumours have been relatively light.
Finding a perfect partner for Darragh Lenihan is a priority, and stumbling upon one of a similar calibre to Adarabioyo is easier said than done.
Here we've collated five central defensive options. Some are attainable via a loan deal, others at a reduced fee and one defender who may adjust to the stark reality that nobody is willing to stump up his absurd wages.
No surprise to see interest had emerged from the Premier League as Kipre was simply sensational during Wigan Athletic's resurgence during the second-half of the season.
The 23-year-old barely put a foot wrong and the Parisian-born defender is expected to join the mass exodus from the DW Stadium this summer.
Wigan paid £1m for the PSG youth prospect in 2018 and will be looking to recoup that if not more, although their administration would enable any potential suitors to negotiate.
His frame and physique would tantalise Mowbray's taste buds, boasting an outstanding aerial presence and Kipre has plenty of untapped potential. Prolific in breaking up opposition play and recoveries, and boasts confidence when playing out from the back - qualities Rovers will be striving to acquire.
He primarily operates on the right side of a defensive partnership, but has been used successfully on the left which would pay compliment to Lenihan nicely.
One of League One's best central defenders last season and Dickie was a vital component in Oxford's play-off challenge.
A tall, uncompromising centre-half, Dickie is a powerful figure who boasts excellent positioning and is excellent at defending one-on-one.
The 23-year-old is strong in the air, attacks corners and has proven himself to be somewhat of a chance creator in the opposition box with his aerial prowess. He shuffles across, helps his full-backs and has been an extremely reliable figure for Karl Robinson.
Not only that, but Dickie plays out from the back with precision and composure, two attributes that would fit Mowbray's ball-retention scheme perfectly. He is right-footed, but has played on the left side of a defensive pairing in the past.
It's no surprise that he's attracted interest from the Premier League, and Oxford will be unwilling to let their captain go on the cheap. Any such deal in this circumstance would hang on agreeing a transfer fee, rather than player wages.
Ayala is undoubtedly one of the better central defenders in the Championship and he currently finds himself without a club after turning down Middlesbrough's offer of a contract extension.
Boro's offer was still lucrative albeit reduced, and yet Ayala has been holding out for wages that make him unattainable in the current economic climate.
The 29-year-old has received interest from Swansea and Birmingham but neither are willing to enter negotiations for a 29-year-old defender with a sketchy injury record.
Mowbray has tried to sign Ayala before when he was manager at Middlesbrough, a fan of his dominant persona and defensive reliability. No deal was reached before Mowbray lost his job, before Mark Venus subsequently signed Ayala not long after.
Partnering Ayala with Lenihan sounds like a formidable prospect, but one that would hinge on a significant pay cut - even if Rovers were interested.
Souttar's situation at Stoke is relatively intriguing one, and ultimately hinges on where Michael O'Neill sees fit given that the Potters have signed James Chester on a permanent deal this week.
Sent out on loan to Fleetwood Town midway through the previous campaign, Joey Barton marvelled at his impact as he became an influential figure in Fleetwood's incredible form at the turn of the year.
The understanding from around the Stoke camp is O'Neill is looking to assess Souttar before deciding whether he should stay or head out on loan. If Stoke are willing to let Souttar leave on a temporary basis, the Potters won't be short of potential suitors.
Finishing the previous campaign with a pass completion rate of 84% the 21-year-old is a composed outlet in possession and his bustling figure fits Mowbray's criteria of a big, strong centre-half who doesn't shy away from putting his body on the line.
For several clubs, Souttar's situation might be one worth monitoring.
Following the Bundesliga trend, Phillips joined 2.Bundesliga side Stuttgart on loan where he enjoyed a relatively successful stint on loan in south western Germany.
The 23-year-old was recalled by Liverpool in December last year as Jurgen Klopp experienced a mounting injury crisis at the heart of his defence as Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were both sidelined.
Phillips joined the Reds from Bolton in 2018 had largely impressed for the Under-23 side under Neil Critchley, and was an unused squad member in the Champions League final the year before.
Klopp is an admirer, and sought to arrange a temporary move across to Germany in order to give Phillips a more prominent role and improve his development.
The Premier League champions have been linked with a move to Ozan Kabak and a deal there could trigger a move for Phillips, who would be an accomplished fit for Rovers at the heart of their defence. If a loan move failed to tempt Liverpool, then a nominal fee would probably be required.