Derby are stepping up their pursuit of Northampton midfielder Michael Jacobs.
Rams boss Nigel Clough has not made an official bid for the 20-year-old but is keen to avoid a tribunal..
"We are talking to Northampton about a transfer because we want to avoid the lottery of going to a tribunal if at all possible," Clough told the Derby Telegraph.
"He is a player we like a lot and he fits into the profile of what we are trying to do here in terms of our recruitment.
"He could play a part for us next season and in doing that he will have the opportunity to improve himself and play at a higher level."