By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
Everton are favourites to complete a £4m deal for Sheffield United's Phil Jagielka if the Blades' relegation from the Premier League is confirmed.
Jagielka is understood to favour a move to Everton
Wigan and Bolton also want the 24-year-old, who has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Bramall Lane if Sheffield United go down.
Chairman Terry Robinson said: "Everton are the favourites - it is Phil's preferred choice.
"If Sheffield United are reinstated, it's highly unlikely Phil will leave."
Robinson added: "If we're not reinstated, then he'll invoke the clause in his contract. If we're reinstated we wouldn't even be having this discussion."
New Sheffield United boss Bryan Robson admitted after taking over: "Keeping Phil looks like it's going to be a problem.
"He's told me he would rather stay in the Premiership, providing it's the best thing for both him and the club."
Robson added: "My job now looks like it's going to be trying to ensure we get the best deal possible. That's what I'll be trying my best to do."
Jagielka, who was released by Everton as a youngster, impressed as a substitute for England B against Albania.
The Blades were hoping to hold on to their prize asset but interest from Premiership clubs, coupled with their relegation and Jagielka's own desire to further his England ambitions, means they are fighting a losing battle.
Jagielka's versatility appeals to Everton boss David Moyes, having figured with distinction at right-back, in central defence and in midfield for the Blades.
He even gave an heroic performance in goal for Sheffield United in their 1-0 win against Arsenal at Bramall Lane in December.