Martin O'Neill will today try to agree a fee with West Ham United for Nigel Reo-Coker as the battle for the midfielder's signature intensifies.
The Aston Villa manager is ready to offer the London club £8 million to bring the England Under-21 star to Villa Park and end a long running saga that is increasing in urgency.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's investiture at Manchester City has put pressure on O'Neill to secure a player he has been tracking for most of the summer. Indeed he has already had a bid of £7 million rejected by counterpart Alan Curbishley.
The Swede is an admirer of the 23-year-old and sees Reo-Coker as the ideal replacement for Joey Barton.
That means O'Neill must act fast amid growing unease at Villa's failure to strengthen their squad this summer.
If anything O'Neill has fewer resources now than when last season ended. He has not only lost Gavin McCann, Jlloyd Samuel and Aaron Hughes, it seems he could be about to sell Steven Davis to Fulham after Lawrie Sanchez bid £4 million for the Ulsterman's services.
But to muddy the waters further Arsenal were last night linked with a move for the ex-Wimbledon man and the opportunity to stay in London with a club that has qualified for the Champions League would be a real head turner for Reo-Coker.
West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, last night remained tight-lipped about speculation they had agreed a fee with Wigan Athletic for Jason Koumas.
The Championship outfit have already turned down one offer from the Lancastrians but a rumoured to have submitted a second, more satisfactory offer for the Welsh international.
What is clear, however, is that Diomansy Kamara wants to leave The Hawthorns and has planned showdown talks with Jeremy Peace to discuss why the chairman turned down his transfer request earlier this week.