Sheffield United are continuing their pursuit of Martyn Waghorn, despite Middlesbrough's decision to enter the race for the Ipswich Town centre-forward.
Although the Teesside club's interest is an unwelcome distraction as manager Chris Wilder looks to reshape his squad, officials at Bramall Lane remain determined to Waghorn's release before next week's deadline for permanent signings.
The former Rangers marksman is one of United's leading transfer targets ahead of the new Championship season which begins this weekend. But after selling Patrick Bamford to Leeds, Middlesbrough could hijack their bid by using the 24-year-old's £7m fee to subsidise their own swoop for Waghorn.
United are thought to have lodged a bid of around £5m with officials at Portman Road, who maintain they have no intention of parting company with their leading goalscorer last term. Derby County are also known to be monitoring Waghorn's situation closely, although manager Frank Lampard could be forced to sell Matej Vydra first in order to comply with the English Football League's Profit and Sustainability regulations.
United, who last night rebutted Brighton and Hove Albion's latest approach for defender Jack O'Connell, want to sign at least one more attacking player after yesterday completing the loan signing of Liverpool's Ben Woodburn.
Meanwhile, United's development squad will begin their latest Professional Development League campaign with a home fixture against Ipswich on August 13 (kick-off 2pm). Five days later, the under-18's travel to Queens Park Rangers (kick-off 10.30am).