Birmingham City are set to sign Spanish midfielder Jordi Lopez on a short-term contract.
The 27-year-old has been training with Blues and played in a reserve friendly a fortnight ago against Sheffield United. He has impressed manager Alex McLeish and the details to his move are near to being finalised.
Blues are likely to take him intially until the season's end, with a view to a three-year contract. Lopez, who can play in central midfield or out wide, cancelled his contract at Real Mallorca in order to find a new club.
He spent time on trial at both Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers earlier this season.
McLeish today alluded to the fact that he had been impressed be a couple of trialists; Lopez is now known to be one of them.
He has a decent pedigree, but has lost his way somewhat recently. Recreativo de Huelva wanted to keep him in Spain, but Blues are ready to announce his free transfer signing.
Lopez played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid's B sides, eventually making a couple of appearances for Madrid's first team. He moved to Sevilla, helping them to win the UEFA Cup, and then Mallorca in 2006. He was loaned to Racing Santander last season.
Not flush for funds in January when the transfer window opens, McLeish has been considering various players on frees or loans with which to bolster his squad.
Lopez is considered a techincally gifted passer, rather than a midfield destroyer, and he is comfortable in possession.
Meanwhile, Harrow Borough manager David Howell is unhappy that midfielder Robin Shroot opted to spend this week on trial at Blues.
As a non-contract player, Harrow couldn't stand in Shroot's way.
"Robin has gone on trial with Birmingham but he didn't go with my blessing," said Howell, Barry Fry's former Blues assistant. "People close to him are advising him and they have hooked him up with an agent, who in my opinion has not got the best of reputations in football or Robin's best interests at heart."
"Robin wanted to go up to Birmingham as he feels it is an opportunity for him," continued Howell. "I disagree but then he is not a contracted player. Birmingham are an ex-Premiership club and Robin feels he has got a chance there. But this agent would like to put Robin out there for the highest bidder."
McLeish has said that Shroot, who scored in the victory over Cheltenham Town at Wast Hills in Tuesday's reserve friendly, would continue to train with Blues for a while longer.