Wigan Athletic have been told they could miss out on the signing of the highly-rated Hamilton Academical midfielder James McArthur.
A host of clubs including Leeds United, Birmingham City, Cardiff City and Rangers are also being linked with the 22-year-old.
The Latics landed James McCarthy last summer and were hoping that would help to lure McArthur to the DW Stadium.
However, McArthur's agent, Willie McKay, told the Evening Post:"There are a few clubs who have made their interest known to Hamilton and we're waiting to see what happens next.
"He is obviously still a Hamilton player and we have to wait for them to give us the green light to speak to any club that makes them an acceptable offer.
"James may even decide to run his contract down and make a decision next year when he'll be on a free transfer. He won't be going anywhere on trial, though.
"James and James are good friends and that would obviously be a huge attraction of joining Wigan.
"We've also dealt with Roberto Martinez and Graeme Jones before and they're good people who know a good player when they see one. I know Wigan like him a lot but I don't know about whether they have the finances.
"There are a lot of other British clubs interested in him as well as a few foreign clubs. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish watched him against Rangers last season and he was outstanding.
"He scored a great goal and ran right through their midfield and Rangers have a good midfield. If you consider Barry Ferguson went down to Birmingham and did so well, it's a no-brainer about whether they would want to sign James."