Luis Boa Morte was last night undergoing a medical at West Ham United after Fulham accepted a fee of £5m plus Matthew Etherington for their captain.
At the same time Fulham have accepted a bid of around £3m from Watford, for the striker Collins John, but the Dutch international, although keen to leave Craven Cottage, is reluctant to move to the Premiership's bottom club. John's chances at Fulham - he has scored one goal this season - have been reduced further by the completion of striker Vincenzo Montella's loan move from Roma. However he has told Fulham he wants to hold out for a bigger club.
Boa Morte's departure may come as a surprise to some. But Fulham have been prepared to cash in on the 29-year-old who is a fans' favourite but has suffered an injury-hit season and wants to leave. Interest has been shown by Everton while Newcastle made a series of inquiries last season.
The left winger, who can also play in central midfield and as a striker, will be the first signing of West Ham's new chairman Eggert Magnusson and the manager Alan Curbishley. He also fits the bill of the kind of experienced Premiership players they are seeking to help haul the club out of the relegation places.
Boa Morte was one of Arsène Wenger's first signings at Arsenal before helping Fulham into the Premiership in 2001 and forced his way into Portugal's 2006 World Cup squad on the back of his strong performances. He was made Fulham's captain last season when he signed a new contract. But that is thought to have included a get-out clause.
Boa Morte had appeared to be central to Chris Coleman's plans but the Fulham manager is in the process of rebuilding his squad and is due to follow up Montella's signing with Etherington and that of the American winger Clint Dempsey.
Etherington's departure from Upton Park is unexpected although the left winger has failed to recapture the form of last season. Like Boa Morte, Etherington, who was signed from Tottenham Hotspur, has been hampered by injury.
West Ham, flush with the cash from the Icelandic takeover, are likely to be the busiest Premiership club in the January transfer window with four of five new signings planned this month. They are also hoping to secure the deals as quickly as possible given their plight in the League.
A bid of £10m for Shaun Wright-Phillips was verbally accepted before Christmas by Chelsea but the stumbling block appears to be the player's reluctance to leave despite it being clear that he has no future at the club under Jose Mourinho.
West Ham have also promised to match the £50,000-a-week Wright-Phillips earns at Stamford Bridge.
Inquiries have also been made for Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka, who only has six months left on his contract. If the Australian fails to sign, West Ham will turn to their former striker John Hartson, who is currently at West Bromwich Albion along with another experienced player on their list of targets, the midfielder Nigel Quashie. A further immediate priority is a right-back although they appear to have missed out on Blackburn Rovers' Lucas Neill.
West Ham, meanwhile, continue to monitor the situation regarding Darren Bent at Charlton Athletic. The striker is injured at present, and could be out for up to a month, but despite Charlton's reluctance to sell, and especially to a relegation rival, they may be made an offer, of around £12m, that they cannot refuse. West Ham would also appear to be willing to include a player as part of any deal to tempt Charlton.Reuse content