Swansea City have targeted a move for Middlesbrough skipper Matthew Bates, skysports.com understands.
The 24-year-old has just one year left on his current deal at The Riverside, and Boro could be forced to sell if a new contract cannot be agreed.
Bates has battled back from four cruciate knee operations and is now a lynch-pin of Tony Mowbray's side.
But the Premier League new-boys - who have already raided Teesside to recruit Leroy Lita this summer - are now keen on former England youth star Bates.
The classy central-defender, who can also play full-back or in midfield, could now be offered the chance to leave his hometown club - although Boro are likely to try and tie him down to a new deal.
Meanwhile, Boro have confirmed that they are hoping Australian star Rhys Williams will soon agree a contract extension.
"We've had some initial talks with Rhys and his advisors," he said.
"I'm trying to put the real talent in the drawer so we can move on and know they'll be here for the next three or four years and Rhys fits into that category.
"If something materialises over the next few days or weeks that will be great for the club."
Williams added: "I really like it there.
"I am settled and have a great relationship with the fans. I am over the moon about the club wanting to tie me up and the manager has told me he sees me as a vital part of his plans."