Bryan Robson has tabled a #3 million bid for Nathan Ellington and is confident that West Bromwich Albion will sign the Wigan Athletic striker before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Robson, the Albion manager, has made no secret of his interest in Ellington, who has scored 67 goals in 146 appearances for Wigan and has attracted the attention of larger clubs.
Albion could find out as early as this morning if their offer has been successful but Robson is prepared to be patient, knowing that he has five strikers as part of what is the club's strongest squad for a generation.
Ellington, aged 24, has 12 months left of his Wigan contract and he has a clause that enables him to speak to any club that offers at least #3million to sign him.
Robson, whose stock has increased significantly since Albion's dramatic escape from relegation in May, is keen to sign a new striker and a central defender before September.
"We have put in a bid with Wigan for Nathan Ellington and we are awaiting a reply from Wigan," Robson said.
"Whether they come back to us tomorrow [today] or whenever, only time will tell but I am hopeful that we can bring Nathan to us. He has got this clause in his contract, and we have matched that clause, which is important.
"Paul Jewell [Wigan manager] made that clear in an article I read about a month ago and that is why we have put in the bid that we have. That alerted me to the player's possible availability."
Ellington has forged a useful partnership with Jason Roberts, the former Albion striker, but Albion look set to break it up. Robson sees Ellington as a younger version of Kevin Campbell, who has had a profound effect with Albion since joining the club in January.
"Nathan is a great athlete, very strong and quick, and has a good goalscoring record," Robson said. "That is the reason we have put the offer in. I do not want to say anything further at this stage because he is not our player and I haven't spoken to the lad yet. But I am hopeful."
Robson is also optimistic of signing a new defender before the transfer window closes. The un-named player has interested Robson for some time and could join the club as early as today.
"I'm waiting to hear back from the club to which we have put a bid in for a centre half," Robson said. "I am quite hopeful by the beginning of next week there might be two players in. If not, then I am still happy going into the season with the squad I have."
Robson also confirmed last night that Liverpool do not have an option to recall Chris Kirkland from a loan spell at The Hawthorns. Jerzy Dudek, the Liverpool goalkeeper, is facing a long spell on the sidelines with an elbow injury but Albion have Kirkland for the full season.
Russell Hoult is the only injury casualty for Albion's match away to Manchester City tomorrow. Hoult played for the reserve team in midweek after damaging his groin but will not be risked in the opening match of the Premiership season.
Robson has emphasised the need to maintain the momentum that ensured a second successive season in the Premiership.
"We have a much stronger squad now and that will keep everyone on their toes," Robson said. "It is important that we maintain our standards. We ended the season with 24 points from 19 matches.
"I think we are going to need 42 points to survive this season. That is our first aim."