Tottenham Hotspur are closing in on Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate after having an offer of more than £7million accepted.
Spurs have been given permission to talk to the 28-year-old England international as they attempt to push home their nterest in him.
They have been trailing the former Leeds player for some time and have now made their move with a bid which is believed to top the £7million Boro paid Real Madrid to secure his services last summer.
Their approach comes after weeks of speculation linking the North London club with the Teessiders' England winger Stewart Downing.
Spurs will hope to tie up their swoop for a player who was heavily linked with former club Newcastle earlier this week as Boro continue their own pursuit of Heerenveen's Brazilian striker Afonso Alves.
Manager Gareth Southgate, backed by chief executive Keith Lamb, yesterday insisted that no bids had been received for any of his players amid mounting speculation over Woodgate and Downing.
However, things have moved on rapidly since then with the January transfer window entering its final week.
After a superb campaign on loan from Real last season, Woodgate, who is currently sidelined by a shin problem, has struggled to reproduce that form this time around because of a series of niggling injuries.
With David Wheater having emerged from the club's Academy, £6million signing Robert Huth finally fully fit, Emanuel Pogatetz having proved his worth and Matthew Bates fighting his way back from long-term injury, Boro have cover in central defence.
That is something Southgate has insisted he must have if is to consider allowing a player to leave the club.
He said: 'We wouldn't let anybody go unless we thought we were suitably covered in that position or had somebody else coming in who we thought could replace the player that was going.'
Meanwhile, Boro are hoping to press home their own interest in Alves today as they attempt to beat the clock.
The Teessiders are believed to have agreed personal terms with the player, but still have to settle on a fee with the two clubs' valuations still some distance apart. they attempt to beat the clock.
The fact that Alves' initial application would automatically be rejected means an appeal would be necessary, and that process would take several days.