Oldham Athletic have had a bid accepted for Leon Clarke and must now wait to learn whether the Sheffield Wednesday striker can agree personal terms.
The 22-year-old had looked all set for a £200,000 switch to Southend United, having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Roots Hall that yielded seven goals in three months.
However, the move floundered due to contractual issues and Oldham have nipped to the front of the queue for a player no stranger to the club having played at Boundary Park on loan last season.
Alan Hardy, Athletic's chief executive, told the Oldham Evening Chronicle: "I am disappointed news has leaked out as we try to keep negotiations for players private until terms have been agreed.
"We have spoken to Sheffield Wednesday and they have given us permission to speak to the player which we have done, and we are waiting for an answer from him."
Meanwhile, Oldham defender John Thompson damaged knee ligaments in Wednesday's 2-1 reserve-team defeat at Stoke.
Thompson has struggled all season for fitness and now faces a prolonged spell on the touchline.