Newcastle are being tipped to make a move for Shaun Wright-Phillips which could spark some major transfer activity in the North East.
The England winger is understood to be surplus to requirements at Chelsea and a host of clubs are considering a swoop.
While West Ham are reported to be favourites, Newcastle are also said to be monitoring the situation.
Newcastle are already fairly well stocked in midfield - but they could indeed make way for Wright-Phillips with the departure of James Milner.
The England Under 21 star has impressed this term, but it remains to be seen whether he will be first choice in the long-term under Glenn Roeder.
Aston Villa, where Milner spent the previous season on loan, have admitted that they are unlikely to mount a fresh bid - but neighbours Middlesbrough are believed to be looking to strike a deal.
Boro showed an interest in August when Newcastle looked to try and prise Mark Viduka from Teesside. Their interest in the Australian remains, but his current form combined with Boro's perilous league position means they will not be willing to let him leave.
Another player said to be on Newcastle's list of targets is Chris Riggott and North East sources claim the two clubs are now in preliminary talks about a deal which could see Boro offer their defender plus some cash to land the young winger.
Boro are looking for a midfield spark and Milner could be the man to provide it, although they have also joined the expanding list of clubs taking a close look at Hibernian duo Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown - with assistant Malcolm Crosby watching them at the weekend.