Sheffield Wednesday are preparing to swoop in for Newcastle defender Grant Hanley, as they look to strengthen at the back and follow in the Toon's footsteps to the Premier League.
Wednesday have been interested in the Scottish international for well over a year after they made enquiries last summer, however they lost out when Blackburn sold the defender to Newcastle for £5m.
Now that Newcastle have been promoted, boss Rafa Benitez is looking for improvements at the back. And after realising that there will be no place for Hanley they have agreed to let him leave the club, with the Chronicle reporting that Sheffield Wednesday are willing to pay his £5.5m asking price.
While it would be a step back for Hanley after making it to the Premier League to just remain in the Championship, he only made 16 appearances in all competitions last season. Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark stamped their authority on the centre-back roles, but Eibar defender Florian Lejeune will join the club in the coming days too.
The former Blackburn man, who has four years left on his contract, did state last season his determination to fight for his place but admitted it had been a difficult season.
He said: “This season has been tough for me personally.
“I have not played as much as I’d like to. I’m not alone in that, but what I would say about this, is the club here and the group of lads, we all go out and we pull in the same direction."
While he stated their is no bitterness between him and his teammates the lack of game time has been frustrating and the cost of regular football might require giving up on the Premier League this season.
He will be joining a strong Championship side however, with Sheffield Wednesday finishing fourth last season, but they lost on penalties to Huddersfield during the playoffs. Hanley's experience at the back could help to push them to the automatic promotion places next season.