Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland was last night on the verge of moving to Newcastle on loan as he underwent a medical at St James' Park.
The 24-year-old was in the north-east of England as manager Alan Pardew looked to bolster his squad for the remainder of the season. Sources on Tyneside are hopeful that a deal can be struck ahead of tonight's transfer deadline.
Ireland would become Pardew's second January signing after Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa completed a permanent move despite not playing since suffering a double leg fracture just four games into a season-long loan deal from Marseille.
His addition would come as a welcome boost with Alan Smith having been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury and star striker Andy Carroll struggling to shake off a thigh problem.
Cork-born Ireland, who has maintained his self-imposed exile from international football despite a series of approaches from Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, has struggled to rediscover his best form since making an £8m switch to Villa from Manchester City last summer.
He made his debut for the midlands club at St James' Park on August 22, and it was a day he will remember with little pleasure as Newcastle romped to a 6-0 win in which Carroll scored his first Premier League hat-trick.
If the move goes through, Ireland could make his debut at Fulham on Wednesday evening.
The remodelling of Aston Villa continues apace. Michael Bradley, the 23-year-old American midfielder currently with Borussia Moenchengladbach, will today become manager Gerard Houllier's fourth transfer-window signing.
Rangers have taken over David Healy's contract until the end of the season after confirming the signing of the striker earlier today. It was initially thought the 31-year-old, a boyhood fan of the Ibrox club, had signed on loan from Sunderland.
Wolves have confirmed the signing of Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara on loan for the remainder of the season.
O'Hara was in the stands to watch Wolves' FA Cup tie against Stoke after undergoing a medical and the completion of his temporary switch to Molineux was announced shortly after the game.
The 24-year-old had a spell on loan at Portsmouth last season but has not featured at first-team level at White Hart Lane this season because of a back injury.