Aston Villa are on the verge of ending their summer long pursuit of Stewart Downing after agreeing a £12 million fee with Middlesbrough.
Downing will travel down for talks with Villa manager Martin O’Neill today with the transfer expected to go through despite interest from Tottenham.
Downing will not be fit until October or November after breaking a bone in his foot after a challenge by Stiliyan Petrov in the penultimate game of last season at The Riverside.
It promises to be a busy week for O’Neill who is also looking to finalise a move for Portsmouth’s 31-year-old French defender Sylvain Distin.
Distin would cost somewhere in the region of £2 million to £3 million as he has only one year left on his contract at Fratton Park.
He had been the subject of a bid in the region of £5.5 million when David O’Leary was manager of Villa in May 2005.
Two years ago O’Neill was interested in a move for the former Newcastle, Paris St Germain and Manchester City player before Distin sealed a free transfer to Pompey on terms that Villa could not compete with.
Downing, aged 24, will look to use a move to Villa to push forward his World Cup plans.
After seven Under-21 caps, Downing made his England debut in February 2005 in a home friendly at Villa Park against Holland, replacing Shaun Wright-Phillips in the second half.
He suffered a setback in May 2005 when he was injured training with England on their tour of the USA, keeping him out of the game until 2006.
But he was then included in the England World Cup squad in May 2006 by Sven-Goran Eriksson, coming on as a second half substitute in England’s opening game against Paraguay.
In August 2006 Downing made his first start for England, as Greece were beaten by 4–0, with Downing involved in three of the goals.
His friendship with former manager Steve McClaren was criticised in sections of the media as his international profile continued to grow but Fabio Capello became the third successive England manager to give him an England cap when in March last year he played in the 1–0 friendly defeat to France.
He was also called up for the friendlies against the USA and Trinidad and Tobago where he received the nod ahead of Ashley Young.
Downing has four years remaining on a contract he signed in February 2008.
O’Neill must also decide whether to make an increased offer for Fabian Delph, although he has a number of alternatives including 20-year-old Leicester midfielder Andy King.
Meanwhile, Villa assistant manager John Robertson has denied that Villa are interested in signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Miguel Veloso.
"We are working on some players like any club but this player is not in our plans," Robertson said.
Villa chief scout Ian Storey-Moore added: "Veloso does not interest our manager,".