Middlesbrough are hoping to sign James Harper and Nicky Shorey before Monday's transfer deadline, skysports.com understands.
Reading captain Harper is on his way to Teesside to undergo a medical after talks between the two clubs.
It is believed Boro have agreed a deal with the Berkshire club, something they were unable to do in the summer when they failed to land him in August.
Following on from their failure to land Ben Watson, Boro boss Gareth Southgate has seemingly been given the green light by chairman Steve Gibson to push-ahead with a bid for Harper, who may cost more than double the fee they agreed with Palace for Watson.
It is believed the deal for Harper is in the region of £5million, with Boro keen to pay in instalments and with a proportion appearance and performance based.
Skysports.com also understands that Harper could be reunited with former Reading team-mate Shorey.
Shorey only signed for Villa in the summer, but he has fallen out of favour in recent months and has not started a Premier League game since the start of November, ironically against Boro.
Now Shorey is very much on Southgate's radar as he looks to bolster his relegation-threatened squad.
Villa, who are in the market for Newcastle's wantaway left-sided star Charles N'Zogbia, are believed to be ready to let Shorey leave, although they are unlikely to want to make any major loss on him.
That means Boro will need to pay around £3million for Shorey should they push ahead with a bid, although a loan deal with a view to a permanent switch could also be an option.