Alan Pardew accepts it may be difficult for West Brom to retain the services of club captain Jonny Evans during the January transfer window as he nears the last year of his contract.
Evans was strongly linked with a move to Manchester City before the start of the season and Pep Guardiola has hinted he will be in the market for another defender next month.
West Brom manager Pardew remains hopeful Evans can be persuaded to sign a contract extension to commit his future to the club despite the ongoing transfer speculation.
"I think you have to be realistic in these situations," Pardew told reporters on Thursday.
"Jonny is a top player, other clubs were interested in him in the summer. We know that and he knows that, we have to be intelligent and straightforward dealing with it.
"He is under contract for West Brom. He knows he can have those conversations [about a new deal] with us.
"We will give him the best deal we can possibly go to on the financial side and length of contract, but that might not be the whole thing with Jonny."
West Brom, winless since August in all competitions, have scored one goal in four league games since Pardew was appointed as the successor to Tony Pulis at The Hawthorns.
Pardew's men travel to Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday, with Matt Phillips and Nacer Chadli in line to return from injury.