Fulham are keen on securing a loan move for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Lewis Holtby before Friday's January transfer deadline and will offer Dimitar Berbatov to his former club in an effort to seal a deal.
Cottagers' manager Rene Muelensteen is desperate to strengthen his squad as the club prepare for a relegation battle and Holtby's desperation to leave White Hart Lane this month has been met with enthusiasm by the Fulham boss.
Adel Taarabt is set to bring an end to his miserable spell at Craven Cottage with a shock move to AC Milan in the offing, which will open up another space for Fulham to add another loanee to their squad.
While Holtby's salary – thought to be £75,000 – has proven to be a stumbling block thus far, the Daily Telegraph reports Fulham will offer Tottenham the chance to bring Berbatov back to White Hart Lane in a move that will free up space on the Cottagers' wage bill – ideally for the former Schalke star.
Berbatov, whose agent indicated last year a winter move was likely, is out of contract in the summer and would likely relish the opportunity to return to the club who brought him to English football in 2006.
Spurs will lose Jermain Defoe at the end of February when he completes his proposed move to Toronto FC, leaving Tim Sherwood with the options of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado up front. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who oversaw the striker's sale to Manchester United in 2009, is reportedly keen to bring the 32-year-old back to north London until at least the end of the season.
The move could satisfy all parties involved, with Holtby eager to secure a move away from Tottenham.
The German midfielder has been handed just one starting appearance in the league since Tim Sherwood took the managerial reins and his agent has since reiterated his desire to leave this month, admitting a loan move is the more likely option.
"My feeling is that he will leave but it's not in our hands at the moment," Holtby's agent Marcus Noack told Press Association Sport.
"Tottenham have to agree to let him go first. We hope to find a solution in the next couple of days.
"I think it will be a loan because it is difficult for anyone to buy Lewis."
A return to Schalke was established early on as the 23-year-old's ideal destination, but the Bundesliga club are reluctant to break their financial framework to sign the player, who only left the Vetlins Arena a year ago.
Aston Villa and Stoke City are also reportedly interested in taking Holtby on loan, but the Telegraph suggests the player would prefer to remain in London.