AN end may finally be in sight to Bolton Wanderers’ longest-running transfer saga.
The club were yesterday cautiously optimistic that Jermaine Beckford could complete his move from Leicester City in the next 24 hours.
And what is more, it appears the 29-year-old striker will be arriving on a free transfer after coming to an agreement on the final two years of his contract at the King Power Stadium.
It has been an incredible 67 days of twists and turns since news first emerged Dougie Freedman was trying to land his former Leeds United strike partner.
On two occasions, the club has felt the ex-Everton man was within 48 hours of being announced as a signing only for negotiations on his severance to take another backward step.
Freedman wanted the matter concluded by the time the squad flew out to Spain for their training camp but at the end of last week there was even talk the manager could be looking elsewhere for options as Beckford looked trapped in limbo with the Foxes.
After 49 appearances, the Midlands club knew they would have to pay Everton another £1million if he played another competitive game, leaving them in an impossible situation.
But equally, they were unhappy about paying off a significant portion of his two-year contract and were last week indicating he could be left to play reserve team football indefinitely.
Now sources in Leicester claim a compromise has been reached and that Beckford – who has already agreed terms on a two-year deal at the Reebok – can now finally get on with rebuilding his career.
After missing the heavy workload of the Spanish training camp he is likely to be playing catch-up, although it is thought he did return to Leicester last week to train with Nigel Pearson's squad.
Wanderers kick-off their pre-season schedule with a game at Rotherham United tomorrow night before travelling to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday and Carlisle United the following Tuesday.