Middlesbrough look set to miss out on a deal for Everton winger Yannick Bolasie.
Bolasie was on Teesside earlier this week for talks over a loan deal as Tony Pulis seeks a replacement for Adama Traore, but the wideman now looks set to move elsewhere.
Reports from the Midlands suggest that Aston Villa have moved into pole position to sign the Everton star on a season-long loan deal.
After meeting Boro at Rockliffe Hall on Monday, Bolasie was then spotted speaking with officials from Villa on Tuesday - with those talks believed to have progressed into Wednesday as a deal nears.
Such news is another blow for Pulis, who has already missed out on several deals this summer as he looks for extra squad depth.
The Boro boss has already warned that the side risk sliding down the table should further recruits not be forthcoming.
Bolasie was earmarked as one of his top targets and, when a permanent deal failed to be completed before the August 9 deadline, a loan deal looked likely.
But Villa have swooped in to seal a move for the DR Congo international, who cost Everton £26million when he joined from Crystal Palace in 2016.
Middlesbrough's failure to land Bolasie also has a knock-on effect for Championship rivals Sheffield United, who had hoped to sign Marvin Johnson on loan.
Now though, Pulis may be unwilling to part with the winger until a replacement is found.
There is a boost for Boro, however, in their pursuit of Bolasie's Everton teammate Mo Besic.
The midfielder still looks likely to move to the Riverside Stadium on another loan deal after impressing under Pulis last season - despite links to Leeds and Swansea in recent weeks.
And the Northern Echo have suggested that Boro are discussing the possibility of inserting a clause into the deal which will allow them to make the switch a permanent one next summer.