Tim Howard, the American goalkeeper, has been granted a work permit and could complete his transfer to Manchester United tomorrow.
United are expected to pay an initial fee of £1.2m to the Major League Soccer club New York/New Jersey Metrostars to acquire the United States international. They may make further payments depending on Howard's success in England.
The New Jersey native made his debut with the Metros in 1998 at the age of 18, and five years later is to reap the rich dividends of his progress. "It's great for me," Howard said following the Metrostars' 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution. "I have to work hard to continue to prove myself. Not many people get this opportunity."
Howard said he was informed on Friday that his application for a work permit had been granted, with the good news coming in a personal call from the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The widely expected transfer hit a snag earlier this month when United were forced to appeal Howard's work permit because the 24-year-old was ruled ineligible.
For a non-EU foreigner to play in England, he must have played in 75 per cent of his country's national team games in the past two years.
Howard has been capped nine times by the United States and started all three matches in this summer's Confederations Cup in France.
"We went in on appeal and got it," Howard said. "It was great because I didn't qualify."
Howard will undergo a medical tomorrow, sign the contract then return to the US on Wednesday to join United for their American tour. He could make his debut with the Red Devils on July 22 against Celtic in Portland, Oregon.
The MetroStars coach, Bob Bradley, said: "We're very excited for Timmy. He has given so much to the Metrostars on and off the field."
Steve Bruce, the Birmingham City manager, is ready to move for the Wimbledon goalkeeper Kelvin Davies after being snubbed in his attempt to capture Middlesbrough's Mark Crossley. Bruce is preparing a £250,000 offer for Davies and hard-up Wimbledon will be in no position to refuse the chance to raise some badly-needed funds.
The Blues manager has grown frustrated with his move for Welsh international Crossley after tabling two offers below Boro's £750,000 valuation and he is close to ending that possibility. Bruce has little money to spend on a keeper after going over the top on his offer for David Dunn and now his limited funds will go on someone to compete with Ian Bennett.
The Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, has asked Sedan's Senegalese striker Henri Camara to fly in for talks this week about a surprise £2m deal. Camara played well for his French club last season despite their relegation and is planning to move on to the Premiership.
The quick and combative striker is due to arrive shortly while the clubs sort out a fee or a season-long loan for him. Coleman needs a new striker and wants to see Camara in action. He ideally wanted a big forward but has been unable to find one in his price range.
The Leeds defender Lucas Radebe will join his team-mates for pre-season training next week after undergoing knee surgery earlier this summer. The South African had a minor operation to clean out his damaged knee and the Leeds manager, Peter Reid, revealed he will be at the Thorp Arch training ground next week.
"Lucas has been taking it easy because he had a wash out on his knee and hasn't been taking part yet, but I'm not too concerned about him because he's a naturally fit boy," Reid said.
"It was recommended that we put him in for the clear-out, certainly his attitude as a player has been fantastic and he's working ever so hard and he will start full pre-season training next week."
The Norwegian midfielder Eirik Bakke is also set to return to training next week.Reuse content