Newcastle United's initial £10.4million bid for Portuguese defender Ruben Semedo has been rejected by Sporting Lisbon.
But reports on the continent suggest the Magpies have sent representatives over to Portugal to seal the deal, and see off late interest from Premier League rivals Southampton.
Newspapers A Bola and Record both say that United officials have been dispatched to Lisbon to negotiate the signing of 23-year-old Semedo.
Semedo, who has also been scouted by Everton this campaign, is rumoured to have a £40million release clause in his contract.
And while it is widely accepted that Sporting will accept considerably less for the central defender, they are hoping to recoup more than the sum big by United, which has been reported as having £2.6million in add ons outside the initial fee.
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The report in Record claims that United's bid will be trumped by Claude Puel's Saints - who are willing to bid €20m (£17.4m).
Rafa Benitez is chasing at least one central defender this summer.
With just one year left on his contract at Stoke City Ryan Shawcross was heavily linked earlier in the summer, so too was recently-relegated Harry Maguire, of Hull City.
But in recent weeks attentions seem to have turned to Manchester City reject Eliaquim Mangala.
The France international has had a hit and miss three years at the Etihad since his £42m move from Porto.
He spent last season on loan at Valencia, and is thought to be available for around £16m.