Hammers move for O'Neil
West Ham are closing in on the signing of Middlesbrough's Gary O'Neil after agreeing an undisclosed fee for the player.
Last Updated: 24/01/11 7:09pm
West Ham are closing in on the signing of Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil after agreeing an undisclosed fee for the player.
O'Neil's future at Middlesbrough has been the subject of conjecture for some time with the Teessiders thought to be willing to let the former Portsmouth man leave the Riverside.
Boro are prepared to offload O'Neil during this month's transfer window as they look to reduce their wage bill with the player thought to be one of the highest earners at the club.
The likes of Wolves, Stoke and Blackburn have all been credited with an interest in O'Neil, but it appears West Ham are in pole position to land the 27-year-old.
Middlesbrough have confirmed they have given O'Neil permission to open talks with West Ham.
"Boro have accepted an undisclosed bid from Premier League club West Ham for midfielder Gary O'Neil," read a club statement.
"The Hammers have been given permission to discuss personal terms with the former Portsmouth man."
West Ham have been keen to bolster their midfield options and had tried to sign Steve Sidwell earlier this month before they missed out to Fulham for the former Aston Villa man.
Hammers boss Avram Grant feels they need new faces this month if they are to avoid relegation and he has sanctioned a move for O'Neil.
O'Neil, who can play in central midfield or wide on the right, is believed to have agreed a two-and-a-half year deal to move to Upton Park.
The former England Under 21 international could become West Ham's third signing of the transfer window following the loan arrivals of Demba Ba and Wayne Bridge.