Stoke City appear to have won the race to sign England international goalkeeper Jack Butland after agreeing a deal, thought to be worth £5 million, with Birmingham City.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis has fought off competition from Fulham, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City to land the 19-year-old.
It is understood Butland had a secret medical with Stoke on Wednesday after Birmingham gave the go-ahead for their prized asset to move to the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke are thought to have agreed to pay close to £5 million in a straight cash deal, despite Birmingham wanting several players on loan as part of the transaction. The Potters have also agreed to loan back Butland to Birmingham for the rest of the season.
Birmingham were understood to want Mamady Sidibe and Jamie Ness to join them from Stoke, but acting chairman Peter Pannu is desperate for the cash injection to stave off financial problems.
Stoke were also asked to consider allowing Ryan Shotton to move to St Andrews on loan, but have insisted the utility defender will not be leaving the club.
The Butland deal comes as doubts persist over the long-term future of Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic, who could move in the summer with Manchester City and Manchester United both interested.
Begovic, 25, had also been linked with a January switch, but said he would be seeing out the season at the Britannia Stadium.
“I am in for training today, so I'm looking forward to staying and looking forward to the game at the weekend,” Begovic told Sky Sports. “I don't see anything happening now. That time has passed. I'm just concentrating on what I need to do here and then I'll have my popcorn ready to watch you guys tonight [Thursday] to see what happens."
Begovic also welcomed the arrival of Butland, saying: “He's another great talent. We have a good group of goalkeepers already here, and it would be good to have the competition around. He's a big talent and I'm sure he would make us better.”
Meanwhile, Stoke have given the go-ahead for long-serving midfielder Rory Delap to join Championship strugglers Barnsley on loan until the end of the season.
Delap, 36 – famous for the long throw from which Stoke have scored so many goals – has been a key part of the club’s rise to, and establishment in, the Premier League, but has found his first-team chances limited this season and has suffered niggling injury problems.
The former Republic of Ireland international has made 208 appearances for the Potters since joining from Sunderland in 2006, and Pulis told the club’s official website: “Rory has been a bedrock of the progress this club has made since he joined us.
"It’s important, therefore, that we look after those players who have served us so well and helped us to get where we are today.
“One way or another, it’s been a frustrating time for him this season, but we are delighted that he’s now got the chance to go out and play regular first team football. I am sure that he will prove to be a great acquisition for Barnsley.”
Delap could make his debut for Barnsley when they take on Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.