Fulham manager Mark Hughes wants Steve Sidwell to rejuvenate his career at Craven Cottage and bring drive to the midfield after apparently capturing him from under the noses of Premier League rivals.
Sidwell was set to sign for Fulham from Aston Villa in a long-term deal understood to be around £3.5million after passing a medical on Friday afternoon as Hughes wound up his attempts to bring reinforcements to west London. But Hughes insisted there was no way Damien Duff would be allowed to leave the club in the January transfer window.
Sidwell, 28, who has played only four matches for Villa this season, had been tracked by Wolves and West Ham. He even underwent a medical at Upton Park, but his family live in south-west London and Hughes appears to have been most persuasive.
Hughes said: "We are just waiting for a little bit of documentation. He has passed his medical, no problems there. It's just ticking all the boxes really. He is a player I have admired for some time. We moved quickly when we felt there was a possibility that we might lose Steve.
"This was his first choice. He is a young man who wants to get back on track, start playing football again. He has a good reputation in the game, well admired, a box-to-box player who can get you a goal. He'll be fine for us.
"His family are based around here but it is not a lifestyle choice. He wants to be part of what we are doing here. He wants to get his career back on track."