SHEFFIELD Wednesday and Preston have agreed on a fee for Neil Mellor.
It is the first stage in the Owls’ attempt to sign the striker who scored 20 goals while on loan with them last season.
Hillsborough chairman Milan Mandaric has confirmed that the club are attempting to complete the transfer.
“We are trying to secure Neil Mellor on a permanent basis,” he said.
Mandaric also confirmed that the centre forward would be costing a fee. Neither club is likely to disclose it.
It is understood that Owls vice-chairman and chief executive Paul Aldridge met the player’s agent yesterday as the first step towards agreeing personal terms. Discussions look set to continue.
Mellor will be delighted with the apparent progress as he wants to sign for the Owls if possible and had been faced with uncertainty about his future.
He went back to Preston at the end of his loan believing that the ball was in their court as his contract has another year to run.
Mellor was also unsure at first about whether the Owls would make a move for him, and he was linked with Brighton.
Now if everything stays on course he will hope to be a Wednesday player by the time pre-season training starts on June 29.
The current talks confirm that Mellor was on the list of nine targets that manager Gary Megson presented to Mandaric and Aldridge at the end of the season.
So far the Owls have completed two signings: Rob Jones from Scunthorpe and David Prutton from Swindon on free transfers.
But Mandaric has again made the point that, in general, deals are taking time to complete because many managers and players are on holiday.
Tommy Spurr, who seems likely to be on the move from Hillsborough. is believed to be attracting interest from Doncaster Rovers; they are in the market for a left back after converting George Friend to a centre half.
In addition, Megson said earlier this week that Wednesday would have players available and a Championship club had shown interest in Spurr.