Derby County will have to break their record transfer fee to sign Hull City's Tom Ince, BBC Radio Derby reports.
Ince, 23, scored 11 goals in 18 games on loan at the Rams last season and has a year to run on his Hull contract.
But the loan agreement is understood to have included an option to buy.
The Rams' record signing, Wales striker Robert Earnshaw, cost £3.5m from Norwich City in 2007, but Ince is expected to cost less than the £6m which has been reported.
Former Derby head coach Steve McClaren confirmed the club wanted the ex-England U-21 international to return to the iPro Stadium in May.
And the appointment of new manager Paul Clement has not changed their stance, with new signings Darren Bent and Alex Pearce also having been identified before Clement took over.