NYCFC's Jack Harrison set to join Middlesbrough via Man City - sources
Manchester City are preparing to buy England under-21 midfielder Jack Harrison from New York City FC and then loan him to Middlesbrough, sources have told ESPN FC.
City and MLS side NYCFC are affiliated through their City Football Group parent company, and the Premier League club are set to use the link to bring Harrison back to his native England.
Stoke City had hoped to land Harrison, with sources saying the Potters had made a bid of $4.5 million (£3.25m), but the Stoke Sentinel reported on Monday that the club were "consistently thwarted by a moving of the goalposts on price."
Man City's move for Harrison uses a similar tactic as their signing of NYCFC's Mix Diskerud on Saturday, where the Premier League side will take the players off the MLS club's books before looking to move them on to another team.
However, while Diskerud was largely unwanted by NYCFC, Harrison has impressed under coach Patrick Vieira, scoring 10 goals with six assists in MLS last season and earning a pair of call-ups to the England under-21s.
But City will still look to secure Harrison's signature before loaning him out, as he is unlikely to break into Pep Guardiola's star-studded side. And if Harrison impresses in the Championship this season, City could potentially earn more from a future permanent deal.
Middlesbrough are four points out of the playoff spots in the Championship with a game in hand on sixth-place Fulham. The addition of Harrison before the close of the transfer window on Wednesday would boost boss Tony Pulis' squad in their hopes of winning promotion back to the Premier League.
Speaking to ESPN last week, Harrison, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent, made no secret that it was a goal of his to someday play in the Premier League.
"Everyone dreams of playing in the top leagues in Europe. The Premier League is one of the top leagues there," he said. "It would be a dream to play there but my focus is here right now. I'm a New York City player right now, nothing is official, so we'll just have to see what happens."
Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.