Sky sources understand that Middlesbrough are about to bid to take Walsall's Jamie Paterson from under the noses of Championship rivals Nottingham Forest.
Middlesbrough recently missed out on a deal for Jacques Maghoma, who instead joined Sheffield Wednesday on a two-year deal, and they are keen to bolster their squad ahead of the new season.
They have set their sights on highly-rated 21-year-old Paterson and are expected to submit a sizeable bid in the next 24 hours to try and beat Forest to his signature.
It is thought that Forest have already agreed a fee for Paterson and had been preparing to discuss terms.
But Boro will now be hoping to win the fight for the dynamic attacker, who played a starring role for Walsall last season.