According to a PA Sports report, Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has drawn up a 10-strong list of possible replacements even though the county is keen to re-sign the left-arm pacer, who took over 100 wickets in all competitions in 2006 and helped the club to a double promotion after being drafted in as a last minute replacement for Nathan Bracken.
''We are very close to making a decision regarding Zaheer Khan and, if that avenue is closed, there are about 10 people on Steve Rhodes' list who we will then talk about, talk to and decide about,'' Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton said.
''If the decision is that it will not be viable to re-sign Zaheer because of the success he has had with India, then we will go to our list. I would suspect the decision regarding Zaheer is imminent, within the next week,'' he said.
''India wouldn't want him to play for us for the first half of the summer before the tour of England starts and nor would he want to I don't think.
''In one sense it would be ideal because the early part of the season, given the conditions, is when he is at his most effective but it is not going to happen. It is a yes or a no - not a part compromise for part of the season,'' he added.
And It may lead to an interesting scenario where Bracken would eventually return to replace his replacement.
''Nathan is one we would consider. As you know, he was our first choice last season and he is clearly a very good bowler and is performing well at the moment.
''We are delighted that he is interested but we have still to make a final decision on that,'' the official said.