Aston Villa are closing in on the signing of Wigan Athletic's England striker Emile Heskey.
The 31-year-old is out of contract with the Latics at the end of the season and had been expected to stay put at the JJB Stadium until next summer.
However, the Midlands club are now confident of landing Heskey, who worked with Villa boss Martin O'Neill at Leicester City.
O'Neill commented: "We were desperately disappointed when he moved, but he said he wanted to go and play with Michael Owen at Liverpool, but he did his part for Leicester.
"He signed a new contract and we eventually got £11million for him when he could easily have gone and played abroad for a year, because of his age and the rules at that time, and we wouldn't have got any money. He played fairly by Leicester.
"Of course, I have kept an eye on Emile's career. Something levelled at Emile is that he doesn't score enough goals and I am sure he probably thinks exactly the same.
"But it doesn't mean he hasn't made a massive difference in other areas.
"Confidence is always a big thing with Emile. When his confidence is high, he is always a player."
Heskey has scored 16 goals in 89 appearances for Wigan since his arrival from Birmingham City in the summer of 2006.