CHARLTON ATHLETIC are hoping to convince Justin Hoyte to turn his back on a return to Middlesbrough and head for his native London instead.
The Addicks are busy recruiting for their first season back in the Championship after successfully winning the League One title last month.
And Hoyte, from Waltham Forest originally, is seen to be a candidate to provide different defensive options for Charlton, whose manager Chris Powell is aware he can play on either flank as a full-back.
The 27-year-old has been told he will not be receiving an extension to the terms of the contract that is due to expire at the Riverside Stadium.
But Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray is interested in keeping him on Teesside on reduced wages to those which he has been on since his move from Arsenal in the summer of 2008.
When he made a £3m switch from the Gunners he was handed terms which reflected his price-tag in the Premier League. Times, though, have changed dramatically at the Riverside, where Mowbray has been instructed to reduce the wage bill since taking over 20 months ago.
Hoyte has been told to head away for the summer and think about his future, while Mowbray works on his own squad rebuilding programme.
The former England Under-21 international could still end up back at Boro's Rockliffe Park training base in July for pre-season training. However, with the prospect of having to reduce his weekly wage by more than 50 per cent, he could decide now is the best time to head back down south.
Hoyte was a regular under Mowbray in the Championship. He was preferred more often than not ahead of Tony McMahon, who is also being asked to take a pay cut to stay.
Mowbray has recently returned from holiday and is now pressing ahead with plans to revamp a squad that is due to lose ten of its players on the pay-roll.
So far this summer only Grant Leadbitter, Ipswich's former Sunderland midfielder, has been lined up to arrive on July 1 as a free agent.
Mowbray - knowing Bristol City remain intent on landing centre-back Stephen McManus - is keen to know the core of the squad he has at his disposal as soon as possible so he will know which areas of the team is in most need of strengthening.
He is still keen on Emmanuel Ledesma, Mustapha Carayol and Jacob Butterfield, but he is also scouring the market for defenders and a back-up goalkeeper. He was also linked in south Yorkshire yesterday with Doncaster defender George Friend.