TRANMERE are pushing to tie up full-back Zoumana Bakayogo on a longer term contract.
Manager Ronnie Moore sees the pacy Frenchman as a priority signing for next season, irrespective of whether the League One leaders are playing Championship football or retain their current third tier status for 2013/14.
Bakayogo, 26, is in the second season of a two-year deal at Prenton Park and due to become a free agent in the summer.
He has established himself as Tranmere's first choice left back this season, holding off a challenge for the position from summer signing Paul Black.
Moore said: "We are speaking to Zoum's agent about a new contract. Hopefully we can get things sorted because he has been exceptional this season.
"We have been trying for some time to get things tied down with him. He has a new agent now. We were practically done with the previous agent. It looked like everything was going through. Now a new agent has got involved and we will have to see what happens."
Moore says he is still keen on strengthening Tranmere's promotion challenge with a powerfully built striker recruited from the loan market.
The closing of the January transfer window this week should not impact on Rovers' search because Football League clubs are able to make loan signings until the third week in March.
Moore said: "The deadline in March is the more important one to us. We don't have a million quid to spend on going out to buy someone, that's not going to happen here.
"The loan system is good for teams in the lower divisions and if we are shrewd, we can pick up a bargain.
"If I can bring in a striker I will. The front players we have now, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, David Amoo and Michael O'Halloran, are quick and can play on the shoulder.
"We don't have many of the strong, well-built type, with the exception of Cole Stockton, who is young still and learning the game."
Moore says he is looking for a front man with stature who can help out with defensive duties, pointing out that Rovers' table topping squad lacks height.
He plans to make contact with Wolverhampton Wanderers this week to ask if there is any prospect of Jake Cassady returning to Prenton Park for a second loan spell.
Tranmere face a decision, early next month, on whether to renew the loans of centre back Donervorn Daniels (from West Bromwich Albion) and front man Michael O'Halloran (from Bolton Wanderers).
Moore said: "With Daniels we need a centre back. We are short in that area. In Michael's case we have Abdulai Bell-Baggie, who is fit again and Joe Thompson, who is our own player, who can also play out wide."
Moore and his backroom staff of assistant John McMahon, goalkeeper coach Dave Timmins and physio Gregg Blundell signed new contracts last week tieing them to Prenton Park until the summer of 2015.
"I am very fortunate to gave a great team around me," Moore said. "John McMahon has worked at Everton and Liverpool. You can't be at those places if you don't know what you're doing. He's a fantastic coach.
"Goalkeeper coach Dave Timmins knows the job so well and Gregg is the best physio about, in my opinion. I think he's destined for bigger things.
"But none of us would be getting these contracts if it wasn't for the way the players have performed this season. What they've done so far is unbelievable. Each and every one of them has been fantastic."
Moore added: "We have to remember that this present time we have won nothing, achieved nothing. We are top of the league now and what we need to do is stay there for the next 17 games. If we could do that it would be an unbelievable achievement for this football club."