Patrick Vieira is inching closer to completing his move to Manchester City.
The former Arsenal skipper flew into England on Thursday, having played his last match for Inter Milan against Chievo on Wednesday and - unless there are any late hitches - he will be confirmed as a City player within 24 hours, probably on an initial six-month contract that can be extended by a further 12 months.
At 33, Vieira is hardly an investment in youth by new Blues boss Roberto Mancini, but the France international will bring a wealth of experience to Eastlands and should help bring more stability to the Blues midfield and make them less easy to score against, one of the major drawbacks of the team Mark Hughes put together.
Vieira has been desperate to secure regular first-team action, having fallen down the pecking order at Inter following Jose Mourinho's arrival at the San Siro.
And not only will the move to City offer the best chance possible of making Raymond Domenech's squad for next summer's World Cup, it also leaves open the prospect of playing in the Champions League next season given owner Sheikh Mansour's stated aim of finishing in the top four this term.
Having Vieira in Manchester should also add extra spice to the two-legged derby confrontation with United later this month, given his memorable confrontations with former Red Devils captain Roy Keane down the years.
Vieira's arrival would represent Mancini's first signing since replacing Hughes nearly three weeks ago.
However, it almost certainly will not be the last before the current transfer window closes.
A trio of current Inter players have been heavily linked with the cash-rich north-west club, whose annual loss of £92.8million has been absorbed by their Abu Dhabi backers.
Ivan Cordoba and Cristian Chivu are also said to be on Mancini's shopping list.