Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is considering a move for Stoke City striker James Beattie.
O'Neill is concerned about the long-term fitness of Emile Heskey and John Carew and wants cover to see Villa through to the end of the season.
Stoke would let Beattie go for around £2.5million and use the cash to help fund an ambitious bid to sign Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones.
Despite tentative interest in Heskey from Liverpool, Fulham, Wigan, Chelsea and Sunderland, Villa manager O'Neill does not want to sell the 31-year-old England striker unless he receives an irresistible offer.
Heskey joined just over a year ago from Wigan for £3.5million and Villa would want more than their money back as replacements of his calibre are hard to find.
Beattie, though, would provide ideal back-up. He has been on Villa's radar before and impressed against them last season.
Although he has since put aside his differences with manager Tony Pulis, following their row over a Christmas party, Beattie, 31, is keen on a fresh start and Pulis would not stand in his way.
The former England striker has a habit of making a big impact at his new clubs and that will also appeal to Villa as they seek to revive their pursuit of a Champions League place following defeats by Arsenal and Liverpool.
Pulis, meanwhile, is determined to kick-start his Stoke's season after their recent faltering form. He will hold a budget meeting with chairman Peter Coates next week when he will name his targets, with Jones top of his wish list.
Stoke-bound? Beattie could be replaced by Kenwyne Jones (pictured)
He admitted: 'There are one or two areas we need to strengthen. We've been looking for someone to control the midfield for us for a long time.
'Those players are difficult to get hold of, but we are looking. It's important we bring the right players in because we need the spirit the players here already have.'
Sunderland would want to line up a replacement before they let him go but value the Trinidad & Tobago striker at around £12m. That won't deter Pulis, who will also be looking to offload fringe players such as Dave Kitson, Richard Cresswell, Michael Tonge and Leon Cort.
The key will be whether the ambitious Jones sees Stoke as a big enough club to move to. He knows Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez are fans but neither club have the money available to match Sunderland's valuation and their best option would be swap deals.
Stoke chairman Coates said: 'We have too many players at the moment and we could do with getting some out.
'It's not good for the players when they are not playing, while it also makes it more difficult to manage the football club.
'We are looking around and if there's anything we like out there we may do something.'
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