Everton have rejected a £9million bid from Wigan Athletic for striker Andy Johnson, according to reports.
The England international is also attracting the interest of Sunderland, West Ham and Fulham, which means the Latics would have to smash their transfer record to secure the diminutive forward.
The arrival of Yakubu Aiyegbeni from Boro last summer resulted in a frustrating season at Everton for Johnson, who often sat on the bench as the Nigerian was preferred in a lone front role.
Johnson joined Everton from Crystal Palace in 2006 and has made 53 starts and scored 17 goals during his time at Goodison Park.
Wigan chief Dave Whelan has told manager Steve Bruce to off-load Henri Camara and Antoine Sibierski to help free up the £50,000-a-week wage that Johnson is said to want.
The ambitious Latics are desperate to add a striker to their summer recruitment as they only have two recognised strikers on their books, excluding Camara, in Emile Heskey and Marlon King.
• Meanwhile, Wigan are close to signing Egypt international Amr Zaki after he arrived at the JJB Stadium for a medical.
Wigan boss Steve Bruce has agreed to pay Zaki's club El Zalamek £1million to loan the striker for one season. The Latics could then sign him for a further £5million if he impresses.
The 25-year-old, who has scored 27 goals in 48 internationals, said he was looking forward to the task of playing in the Premier League.
Zaki told Sky Sports: 'I'm very happy to be here and hope to sign for Wigan. It was difficult for me to come here as my club still wanted me.
'I watch all the Premier League and Championship games and think a loan would be good so I can prove myself.
'There is a big difference between English and Egyptian football. The competition and the players are tougher here.'