Sunderland have still to formally accept Aston Villa's bid - believed to be around £18 million - for striker Darren Bent.
Bent is understood to be in the midlands waiting for the go-ahead to start negotiating personal terms with Villa and to undergo a medical.
Sources close to Villa say they are "hoping to complete the final pieces" of the deal in the next 24 hours but also warned "nothing is simple".
But indications from the Black Cats are that Villa's bid, which could eventually rise to £24 million with add-ons, has still to be given the green light although that may change later on Tuesday.
Bent's arrival would smash Villa's previous transfer record of £12 million paid for James Milner and Stewart Downing when signing from Newcastle and Middlesbrough respectively.
Villa boss Gerard Houllier has already spent £6 million during the current transfer window on Lyon midfielder Jean Makoun.
He also retains an interest in Blackpool skipper Charlie Adam despite having two bids rejected.
Bent has scored 81 Premier League goals in the last five seasons - a figure only bettered by Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney with 82 apiece.
It is understood Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, although disappointed to be losing a striker of Bent's quality, is keen for any move to Villa to go ahead sooner rather than later.
That will give him sufficient time to bring in a replacement before the transfer window closes in just under a fortnight.
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