Real Madrid forward Alvaro Negredo heads Hull manager Phil Brown's wanted list as he continues his search for new blood before the end of the transfer window.
The Tigers on Thursday unveiled Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Hunt and Algerian striker Kamel Ghilas, their third and fourth signings of the close season, but talk soon turned to the club's audacious move for the £12million-rated Negredo.
Brown said: "As for Negredo, it has been four to six weeks since we first made contact with Real Madrid, but it's hard dealing with a club as big as they are. In terms of European football, they are number one, two or three. One minute you think you are 95% there and the next moment it's 50-50 again. But we are very, very hopeful. In time for Chelsea on Saturday, though? I don't know."
He added: "Even after the season kicks off, there will be transfer activity, a flurry of it, I imagine, and we will be part and parcel of that."
Brown and Hull chairman Paul Duffen both remain confident of agreeing a deal for the Spaniard, with a season-long loan deal a possibility, despite interest in the player from some big European names.
With Liverpool reportedly turning down Negredo as a makeweight in Xabi Alonso's move to the Bernabeu and Tottenham's interest cooling, City appear to be the only Premier League club in for Negredo, but with Stuttgart, Roma, Zenit St Petersburg and Villarreal also circling, competition remains strong.
Hull chairman Paul Duffen shares Brown's confidence.
"We are not alone (in chasing Negredo), but we are, I think, the leading candidate," he added. "It's been a slow-burner this one, but in terms of being a Premier League side and in terms of the good relationship we have built up with Real over the last few weeks, we are very confident."
There were less encouraging sounds from the player's camp though, with Negredo's agent Alejandro Camano claiming the 23-year-old's preferred destination is Roma.
"Negredo wants Roma," he told Corriere dello Sport. "We are ready to wait for Roma for another two or three days, (sporting director) Daniele Prade knows all this, as he knows the player's choice would be the Giallorossi shirt. Negredo would be honoured to play for Roma."
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