Aston Villa have agreed a £6million fee with Manchester City for their skipper Richard Dunne.
Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, has moved swiftly to head off interest from Sunderland and Everton in Dunne whose nine-year City career looks to be drawing to a close following the arrival of Joleon Lescott in a £24m deal.
Dunne, 29, has spoken of his desire to stay at City but with Lescott joining Kolo Toure at Eastlands is likely to find his first team opportunities limited this season.
While questions have been asked over the amount City have forked out to land Lescott from Everton, the fee for 29-year-old Dunne is also likely to raise eyebrows even though his contract does not expire until 2012.
Despite a dogged defensive display in the victory over Liverpool Monday night, O'Neill has made no secret of his desire to sign an experienced centre-half in the wake of Martin Laursen's retirement.
Agreeing personal terms with Dunne may yet present a stumbling block given his £55,000-a-week wages at Eastlands.
But O'Neill's determination to get his man is reflected in the size of the fee he has persuaded owner Randy Lerner to part with.
If all goes according to plan, Dunne would become O'Neill's fourth major signing of the transfer window following the arrivals of Stewart Downing, Habib Beye and Fabian Delph.
O'Neill remains keen on Blackburn's Stephen Warnock but Lerner will have to dig deep once again with Sam Allardyce valuing his defender in the £10m bracket.
Villa's move for Dunne would seem to leave the way clear for Everton to land Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin after he handed in a transfer request at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth have slapped a £6m price-tag on Distin's head but Everton are reluctant to go so high, despite the cash they received for Lescott, as the 31-year-old has just one-year left on his deal.