Stoke City are close to signing former England defender Phil Jagielka on a free transfer.
Jagielka had to be released by Derby on Friday morning after the EFL refused to sanction a contract extension as they wait for funding proof for the rest of the season from Derby’s administrators.
Stoke are favourites to secure 39-year-old Jagielka, having acted quickly.
Jagielka joined Wayne Rooney’s Derby on a short-term deal in the summer after he was released by Sheffield United.
His deal was not due to expire until Monday but, given that there was no chance of an extension, Derby released Jagielka immediately.
Rams manager Rooney was keen to persuade Jagielka, who has made 21 appearances for the Championship’s bottom club, to remain at Pride Park. He has been on the losing side in just six league games.
Stoke have been looking for a new centre-half since Australia international Harry Souttar was sidelined for the season on World Cup duty in November.
They had been linked with his brother John, the Hearts and Scotland stopper, but reports now indicate that the elder Souttar has instead signed a pre-contract agreement with Scottish champions Rangers.
Stoke’s other main long-term injury absentee is striker Nick Powell, who suffered a pre-Christmas setback in his recovery from the broken fibia. he suffered in early October.