Everton are expected to hold further talks with midfielder Gareth Barry this week over a permanent deal at Goodison Park.
The 33-year-old spent last season on loan with the Toffees from Manchester City and manager Roberto Martinez believes the club and Barry are a "perfect fit".
Since his contract at the Etihad Stadium expired Barry has been free to talk to other clubs but Press Association Sport understands the former England international is scheduled to meet Everton officials in the coming days.
The club remain optimistic of securing a player who was a key component in their success last season.
At the moment there are still other parties interested in Barry but the familiarity of Everton, in addition to their proximity which would avoid the necessity to relocate, appear to have put the Merseysiders ahead in the race.
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
1/8 Guillermo Ochoa
The Mexican goalkeeper rose to fame thanks to his brilliant performance against Brazil in the World Cup. The 28-year-old, who left Ajaccio at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
2/8 Rio Ferdinand
Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer. Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract. Ferdinand said last week that if United did not offer him a new deal that he would be “open to offers” but joked that he “would not go below the Conference”. That is unlikely to be an issue as there should be no shortage of clubs looking for a defender of his experience. Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.
3/8 Diego Lugano
The Uruguay captain hit the headlines in Brazil for the wrong reasons as his complete denial that team-mate Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini when everyone else could see it. His contract with West Brom is up for renewal, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to remain in the Premier League.
4/8 Nicolas Anelka
Sacked by West Brom last season for his controversial 'Quenelle' gesture, Anelka has not yet confirmed whether he will sign for a new club - should anyone want him - or announce his retirement.
5/8 Frank Lampard
As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season. But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.
6/8 Marouane Chamakh
The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better. Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety. Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.
7/8 Samuel Eto'o
The striker did not cover himself in glory at the 2014 World Cup, as Cameroon's campaign was blighted by a money row over bonuses and poor performances in Brazil that saw them eliminated at the group stages. However, the Champions League winner will still have a number of clubs interested in his services, with Arsenal being linked in recent weeks.
8/8 Nicklas Bendtner
Despite a fairly successful season by his standards, Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out of Arsenal. The Dane has scored twice this year, in wins over Hull and Cardiff, but he fell behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order while not always conducting himself immaculately off the pitch. He turned down moves away from Arsenal last summer that would have meant pay cuts but this summer he must be hopeful of maximising his value as a free agent.
Transfer dealings on a number of targets are taking time and have been complicated slightly by the presence of Martinez in Brazil, where he is working as television pundit.
The Spaniard will not return to England until late next week and that should see the recruitment drive pick up pace.
He always expected this to be a drawn-out summer in terms of new signings but retaining the services of Barry was near the top of his list of things to get done.
However, Martinez has given the midfielder the time and space to consider his next move rather than trying to pressure him in order to get the deal done.
"In a World Cup summer everything goes slow and everything happens at its own pace," Martinez told Press Association Sport.
"Gareth is such a unique person, I have been so impressed and I think everyone at the club has taken to him.
"For us he would be an important player for the future but we respect him as a human being and we are going to accept whatever he decides and make sure whatever happens we are here to support him in every aspect.
"He has been a special player for us and we will try to give him an incentive to stay even though there is nothing you can say to a player who has experienced everything in the last 10 months.
"Football happiness is a major aspect any footballer chases and Gareth and Everton are a perfect fit and the way he has been performing shows he has that footballing happiness.
"We all know what Gareth brings and how important that is."