Watford reportedly failed with an approach to land Manchester United defender Phil Jones before the transfer market shut.
Before changing his mind, the 29-year-old star was close to a loan transfer to Bordeaux on loan.
Football Insider reports that new Watford head coach Roy Hodgson also sanctioned a January move for him but it was knocked back.
Roy is a big admirer of the centre-half having worked with the player during his time as England chief and picking him in his UEFA Euro 2012 and 2014 FIFA World Cup squads.
Phil has only just recovered from a knee injury that kept the player out of action for over one-and-a-half years and made his comeback in last month’s Premier League match with Wolves.
The player has been a consistent name on the bench in the top-flight ever since but is yet to add to that one appearance this season.
Opportunities at the Theatre of Dreams may be limited even further with his team-mate Eric Bailly set to return from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Hornets are in desperate need of reinforcements at the back as Hodgson is tasked with keeping his side in the Premier League.
The club have conceded 40 goals in 20 division games this campaign – only Norwich City (45) and Newcastle United (43) have shipped more.