WANDERERS should snap up England Under-21 defender Craig Dawson on loan today but look set to write off £2million on full-back Marcos Alonso.
In what comes as bitter-sweet news for Whites fans, the delight at beating off Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and Leicester City to bring in West Brom centre-half Dawson was tempered with the prospect of Alonso – out of contract in the summer – closing in on a move to Italian giants Fiorentina.
Dougie Freedman has been waiting patiently on Dawson since the transfer window opened but had been delayed in his efforts to bring the 22-year-old to the Reebok because the Baggies had several defensive players on their injury list.
When Rovers appointed former Hawthorns coach Michael Appleton as the successor to the sacked Henning Berg it appeared Wanderers’ chances were slimming – but it is understood the defender was reluctant to become the new manager’s first signing, given the uncertainty and current turmoil around Ewood Park.
Dawson – who has previously played at Radcliffe Borough and Rochdale – welcomed a return to the North West and the chance of regular first-team football that he had not been guaranteed under Steve Clarke.
Although the terms of the deal have still to be finalised, it is understood he will join Wanderers for the rest of the season.
Wanderers new recruit is expected to link-up with the squad before the weekend but will not be available for the FA Cup fourth round tie with Everton because he featured for West Brom against QPR in the previous round, albeit for just two minutes.
As Freedman brings in one target, things appear to have got more complicated elsewhere in his back four with the news that Alonso is in talks with Fiorentina about a summer move, and could even leave before the close of the transfer window for a cut-price fee.
Wanderers have remained silent on suggestions that a bid of £200,000 has already been made by the Florence club, but should he quit in the summer, compensation would be minimal as he spent the majority of his formative years at Real Madrid.
Owen Coyle spent around £2m recruiting the Bernabeu youth product in July, 2010, and negotiations over a new deal at the Reebok appear to have stalled at exactly the same time the 22-year-old has cemented a place in Freedman's team, with the youngster's current six-game run the best of his Whites career to date.
As reported earlier this week, Nottingham Forest have also registered their interest in a January deal, although they would be unable to match the wages on offer at a side currently fifth in Serie A.
Wanderers had opened talks with Alonso and his family over a new deal late last year and had been confident that an arrangement would be struck until recently.
Plans to bring in Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock were abandoned over Christmas because of the former England international's wage demands, which left Alonso challenging the versatile Sam Ricketts head to head for the left-back slot.
Alonso has been in possession of the shirt since the 3-1 home win over Birmingham City in late December but it remains to be seen whether the current contractual problems could jeopardise his place in the team.
Should the Whites decide to cash in this month, it would most likely be another position to fill for Freedman, who has already been frustrated in in his attempts to recruit a new centre-half, right-back and winger.
Alonso had been linked with Swansea City for some time but said recently he was not considering a move to the Welsh club and had his focus on getting Wanderers back into the Premier League.