David Wheater has opened talks with Bolton as they look on course to land the Middlesbrough defender, skysports.com understands.
The 23-year-old Teessider is out-of-contract in the summer, and with Boro way off the pace in the Championship, he is keen to return to the top-flight.
A host of clubs including Wolves, Stoke, Everton and Newcastle had been linked - but Owen Coyle has now pushed ahead with a deal believed to be worth over £2million.
Wheater was left out of Boro's squad to face Burton Albion in the FA Cup third round, in order for him to start talks and to avoid injury.
Bolton will now hope to conclude the deal in the next 48 hours as Coyle looks to bolster his defence.