Wanderers have made a sensational swoop on neighbours Blackburn Rovers for their prized asset Junior Hoilett.
Owen Coyle is looking to beat the likes of Liverpool, Stoke City and Tottenham to the punch and snap up the Canadian youngster before his contract expires in the summer.
Blackburn appear desperate to sell both Hoilett and defender Chris Samba this month to fund Steve Kean’s transfer plans, and it is understood that Wanderers owner Eddie Davies has sanctioned the cash to test Rovers’ resolve.
With £7million due to be added to the coffers for the sale of Gary Cahill to Chelsea – which is still subject to the defender agreeing personal terms – it is thought the majority of those funds will be used to tempt Hoilett down the road to the Reebok.
The signing would represent a major coup for Wanderers and add attacking flair to a side that have struggled to fire for much of the season without their own star men, Stuart Holden and Chung-Yong Lee.
Coyle is a big admirer of the pacy front man, who burst onto the scene at Blackburn just 18 months ago under Sam Allardyce.
Rovers looked to have all but given up on convincing the Canada-born striker to sign a few contract at Ewood Park until this week, when Steve Kean hinted that talks were being revived.
“Junior has shown little signs that he might be wanting to sit down and talk again, there was a meeting with his father and one of the club directors last week,” he said.
“We are trying to get it done. There have been offers sitting there for him and when it gets to a position when a player has six months left it is his prerogative to either sit his contract out, leave that offer there and have a sniff elsewhere.”
Kean insisted on Friday that the club were not openly looking to sell Hoilett this month and would be prepared to let him leave in the summer, when a fee would be decided by tribunal.
And the Scot was not convinced that the 21-year-old would definitely jump ship should an offer come his way.
“If somebody bids for him he might not want to go to that club,” he said. “He might want to sit out the last part of his contract here and see what opens up for him.
“I can understand why people might think we are trying to sell him on but we are not, we would like him to sign again.”
It is thought that Spurs, Liverpool and Stoke are ready to take their chances in the summer, but Coyle needs to strengthen his attacking options and sees Hoilett as the ideal man to kickstart the Whites’ revival in the second half of the season.