Fulham have made a late bid to snatch Alexei Smertin from under the noses of London rivals West Ham and look set to seal his signature, skysports.com can reveal.
The Russian international was made available by his club Dinamo Moscow last week and a move back to the Premiership became his top priority.
West Ham, Charlton and Fulham all made moves and it was The Hammers who looked to have won the race to land him.
Smertin had talks and underwent a medical at Upton Park, but the deal stalled as West Ham worked on other targets.
Now skysports.com understands that Fulham have taken advantage of West Ham's hesitation to strike a deal with Smertin.
It is now believed The Cottagers are hopeful of announcing a deal within the next few days.
Smertin's agent Paulo Barbosa admitted to the Russian media earlier this week that talks were on-going with teams from the Premiership.
"We had a meeting with Dinamo president and manager last week and they allowed us to start searching of new team," said Barbosa.
"At the moment we have a few offers from teams from English Premier League.
"I can't say their names until the end of negotiations or until we have terminated the contract with Dinamo.
"Alexei has already started training to become match fit."