Wigan Athletic are the frontrunners in the race to sign Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson, according to Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate.
Boro were given permission to talk to the 22-year-old midfielder last week after tabling a bid believed to be in the region of £2million for the former England Under-21 international.
But Southgate believes Wigan have joined the race for the highly-rated midfielder and he expects Watson to make the move to the JJB Stadium.
"We think he is joining Wigan," he conceded.
"We are disappointed because we have done a lot of work over a couple of months towards that but that's the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes you don't get it.
"Like I said, it's a disappointment but several factors came into a player's mind and our league position may come into it.
"He's a good kid and we would have liked to have signed him but we move on."