Barnsley have emerged as the unlikely front-runners in the race to land Liam Lindsay from Partick Thistle.
The centre-back was all set to complete a move to Oxford United after the Scottish club accepted a bid in the region of £350,000.
Lindsay, aged 21, travelled to the League One outfit to discuss personal terms after the fee was agreed.
However, with the uncertainty surrounding Michael Appleton’s future - the U’s boss is expected to become Craig Shakespeare’s number two at Leicester City - Lindsay decided against the move.
It is believed the Reds have matched the bid that was previously accepted by Oxford.
However, other clubs are also expected to firm up their interest and a bidding war could materialise.
If Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom were to land his target, it would be the club’s second capture from north of the border.
The Reds have already raided St Mirren for Stevie Mallan and paid a fee of £300,000.
They are continuing to search away from the English leagues, with the club interested in Shamrock Rovers midfielder Trevor Clarke.
The 19-year-old has had a standout season in Ireland and has been tipped to feature in the Republic of Ireland senior team sooner rather than later.
But there is competition from Premier League clubs and the Reds could be substantially priced out of any potential deal for the youngster.