Birmingham City face a battle with Premiership newcomers Reading to secure experienced defender Bruno N'Gotty.
Chris Perry's decision to move to West Bromwich Albion has closed one of the options available to Steve Bruce. But the Blues manager is still keen to bolster his squad with a centre-half and stories persist that former Bolton Wanderers defender N'Gotty is a target.
The 35- year- old was released by Bolton in the summer but Reading are also keen to sign the former France international.
Bruce wants an experienced defender to have a stabilising effect on his youthful back line and was keen on Perry until Albion swooped.
However, one of Bruce's summer signings, Neil Danns, always had a sneaking suspicion Birmingham would sign him once his contract expired at Colchester this summer.
The midfielder knew Bruce from his time at Blackburn Rovers where he was a member of the same youth team as the manager's son, Alex. Danns has been in pre-season training for almost a week now and is likely to be involved in Birmingham's behind-closed doors friendly against Northampton Town at Wast Hills tomorrow.
His first public outing will be at Burton Albion on Saturday, which is Blues' only friendly before they depart for their pre-season training camp in Spain.
While a pre-season trip to Spain and the expectation of being favourites for the title is light years away from what Danns experienced at Layer Road, he is confident he will take it in his stride.
Seven appearances for Blackburn handed him a taste of the high life, but he is more concerned with what occurs on the pitch rather than the fanfare off it.
"It is nice to be at a big club but I have come to play on the pitch and that is the main thing," said Danns. "All the stuff around it is brilliant but you do your job on the pitch and that is what I have come to do. I will work hard and hopefully be successful for Birmingham.
"It was no surprise when they came in for me as I have known the gaffer for quite a while and had been told he was monitoring me.
"Being out of contract at the end of the season I had a little thought at the back of my mind that they might come back in for me.
"Once they did come in for me there was nowhere else to go. I knew the manager from my time at Blackburn and I am sure he is going to be a major influence on my career."
Danns is a confident character and his belief manifests itself in a desire to secure Blues' return to the Premiership. "When a club the size and prestige of Birmingham come in for you, you can't turn it down," he said.
"I am not expecting anything less than promotion, like everyone else at the club. The gaffer has signed some good youngsters who will add energy and enthusiasm. Once all that is put together, we will hopefully be challenging."
* Blues have appointed Terry Westley as their new academy manager. Westley formerly headed the academy at Derby County and had a spell as the Rams' caretaker manager last season, but has left Pride Park following the arrival of Billy Davies as first-team boss.