Birmingham City have emerged as favourites to sign Geremi from Chelsea - but a deal can only take place if the Premiership champions are successful in their bid to secure Michael Essien from Olympique Lyon of France.
Geremi, the Cameroon international midfield player, has appeared for Real Madrid and Middlesbrough but is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, having played just 38 Premiership matches in two seasons.
Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, is keen to sign a creative midfield player and Geremi, who represented his country in the 2002 World Cup, fits the bill. It is understood that Chelsea will want about £2 million for Geremi and, while the player's wages would significantly increase the bill, Birmingham would see this as good business.
But a deal is not as clearcut as Bruce would hope, for Chelsea are likely to keep Geremi if they are not successful in their bid to sign Essien.
Lyon will not accept less than £31 million for Essien. Chelsea only want to pay £21 million, with no prospect of a compromise on either side.
French clubs are set to benefit from a significant cash windfall from Canal+ TV, along the lines of that enjoyed by English clubs from Sky Television, meaning that Lyon have little financial incentive to sell their best player.
It means that Bruce could be in for a frustrating time, wondering if he can add to his squad before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Nevertheless, it is another sign that Birmingham mean business in their desire to finish in a European position. Their goalless draw away to Fulham on Saturday highlighted a lack of creativity. Geremi is a player who can put his foot on the ball and bring his team-mates into play. Birmingham are desperate for such a player.
Geremi, aged 26, was born in Batousam, Cameroon, and has represented his country 61 times. Far from being a prolific goalscorer (he averages a goal every ten matches), he is a midfield player more in the Eric Djemba-Djemba mould - but with more urgency.
Geremi joined Real Madrid in 1999 and played 45 matches in the Spanish La Liga before joining Middlesbrough on loan for the 2002-03 season. He did well at the Riverside Stadium, alerting Chelsea to his availability. They subsequently signed him for £7 million.
His problem, however, is that few players enjoy regular first-team football at Stamford Bridge. Geremi has become frustrated with only playing one out of every two matches for Chelsea.
If he signs, he will forge a useful partnership with Nicky Butt at the heart of the Birmingham midfield.
He would also be reunited with Mario Melchiot, with whom he played for Chelsea during the 2003-04 campaign, and Mikael Forssell, with whom he played at the tailend of last season.
Bruce has made it clear that he wants to sign another midfield player. Mehdi Nafti, the Tunisia international midfield player, has been ruled out for most of the season with knee-ligament damage and Blues need a replacement.
A midfield axis of Geremi and Butt will allow Bruce to play with out-and-out wingers like Jermaine Pennant and David Dunn, providing ammunition for Emile Heskey and Forssell up front.
Bruce was impressed with the performance of Butt during Blues' first match of the league season, against Fulham at Craven Cottage. n Nathan Ellington should become a West Bromwich Albion player today, making him Bryan Robson's fifth signing of the summer.
The Wigan Athletic striker has already agreed personal terms with Albion for a £3 million transfer and, having passed a medical, should tie up the loose ends this morning. Jeremy Peace, the Albion chairman, said: "Nathan is excited about becoming an Albion player."