LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ is due to start pre-season training with Middlesbrough this morning despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding his future.
That has frustrated front-runners Derby County, who had hoped to strike a deal for around the £1m mark early to see off Wigan and Bolton.
Aitor Karanka, the Middlesbrough boss, has had to be patient in his pursuit of players, and he has only been able to announce the permanent acquisition of goalkeeper Tomas Mejias so far.
And his former Real Madrid team-mate Juanfran, a right-back with Real Betis, is still to give the go-ahead for a move to Teesside having learned of interest from a couple of clubs in Italy.
Frazer Richardson, released by Boro at the end of the season, has completed a move to Championship new-boys Rotherham as a free agent.
NEWCASTLE are ready to test the water with a £10m offer for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, who with Pierre-Michel Lasogga are the main attacking targets the Magpies have in mind.
Newcastle have learned that Hertha Berlin are looking for £9.5m for Lasogga and that has prompted officials to consider an offer in the region of that figure.
The 23-year-old comes highly recommended by chief scout Graham Carr who has been to France to watch him repeatedly. He has also recommended Clement Grenier and Remy Cabella, although the shortage of strikers is the primary concern.
It has emerged that Panathinaikos are also still trying to get a deal done for midfielder Mehdi Abeid. Sporting director Nikos Dabizas is aiming to strike a deal that will see Abeid leave on a permanent basis for nothing, although Newcastle would get 50 per cent of any future sale.
Sunderland are going to press ahead with a fresh bid to take Fabio Borini back to Wearside with Liverpool on the verge of landing Adam Lallana.
Borini was seen as a possible makeweight in a deal for Lallana but the England attacker is set to conclude a straight £25m switch to Anfield. That means the Reds are willing to consider offers for Borini and the Black Cats could find that £10m does the job.