Gareth Southgate has conceded defeat in his attempts to sign Ben Watson from Crystal Palace - and the Middlesbrough manager expects the highly-rated midfielder to join Barclays Premier League rivals Wigan.
Boro stepped up their interest in Watson this week and looked to be in pole position to sign the 23-year-old after Palace boss Neil Warnock confirmed a fee - believed to be in the region of £2million - had been agreed.
However, it has since emerged Wigan manager Steve Bruce is also keen on adding Watson to his ranks and Southgate said: "We think he is joining Wigan. We are disappointed because we have done a lot of work over a couple of months towards that but that's the way it goes sometimes, sometimes you don't get it."
He added: "Like I said, it's a disappointment but several factors came into a player's mind and our league position may come into it.
"He's a good kid and we would have liked to have signed him but we move on."
Asked if he had other irons in the fire ahead of the forthcoming transfer deadline, Southgate added: "We have got ideas but as soon as those ideas become public we lose players so I will be keeping that very close to my chest from now on."
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