Middlesbrough hope to complete the signing of Stewart Downing this week.
The Hammers have made it clear via ClaretandHugh that they want to bring in players before allowing Downing to move on but Boro believe they have got their man.
And his absence from the squad at Peterborough yesterday and any Europa Cup action suggests he could be on his way quickly
Sunderland are still hoping they can tempt the player to opt for the Stadium of Light but we have been told a Riverside move is the more likely option.
We understand that a fee of between £5m-£6m is likely to involved for a player who is one of the highest earners at Upton Park.
He is believed to earn the same £50,000 per week basic wage plus bonuses which totals round around £2.4 million a year.
The Hammers are believed to be keeping an eye on Everton’s Kevin Miralles as a possible replacement for Downing.