Harry Redknapp has offered Queen’s Park Rangers striker Jamie Mackie to Stoke City as part of the deal to sign Peter Crouch - the England striker and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Scott Parker are key targets for the relegation-threatened club.
Crouch has two years left on his contract at Stoke, where he is the best-paid player in the squad and leaving for a club that could be in the Championship next season is not without its risks. However, QPR is where he launched his professional career in 2000 and the prospect of going back to west London, where he grew up, is tempting.
Much will depend on whether Mackie, 27, who is in his third season at QPR can be persuaded to make the move to Stoke. Tony Pulis is understood to be open to a deal along those lines if Mackie is prepared to come the other way with a fee of around £4m on top. Mackie's style of play is suited to the demands Pulis makes of his players.
For Crouch, originally from Ealing, and who still has a house in Surrey from his second spell at Portsmouth, it would be the tenth move of his professional career. He signed for QPR under Gerry Francis in 2000 having failed to break into the Spurs team as a trainee at the club. After some initial problems settling in, Crouch was the leading goalscorer as the club were relegated to what is now League One.
In the summer of 2001, Crouch was sold by QPR to Portsmouth, where Redknapp was director of football. Crouch's subsequent sale to Portsmouth in the summer of 2001, and the financial arrangements around the deal, were the subject of Redknapp's trial on two charges of tax evasion this time last year. He was acquitted.
Redknapp is trying to sign the former Blackburn Rovers defender Christopher Samba, 28, from Anzhi Makhachkala. Ideally he would like Parker as well but QPR have alternatives given how difficult that deal could be to do with his former club Spurs. Parker, 32, has two years left on his contract after this season.
Lewis Holtby's arrival has reduced the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas' midfield options, following the injury to Sandro.
Fulham are still hopeful that they can sign Tom Huddlestone in the next two days but there is little chance of Spurs sanctioning the departure of him and Parker unless they can find replacements.
Should Crouch sign, it would be the tenth move of his professional career, including one loan, across eight clubs. That is not including the senior games he played on loan at Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hasselholm in Sweden before he made his professional debut at QPR.
Crouch originally signed for QPR from Spurs 13 years ago for £60,000, plus £106,000 when he played 30 first team games and a 20 per cent of his sell-on fee to Portsmouth. He later joked that so desperate was he to play first team football he signed a contract for so little money that QPR’s then-secretary thought about getting the document framed.
Redknapp said: “I've always taken Crouchy where I've been: Southampton, Portsmouth, Tottenham... I love him as a boy. Whether Stoke would sell him, I don't know. Chris Samba is a player you'd love to have, and the chairman's working on several options."