Gaston Ramirez has been released by Southampton, paving the way for him to join Middlesbrough.
The Uruguay international cost the Saints a club record £12million from Bologna in 2012 but failed to make any impact.
He started just 28 matches in his four years at St Mary’s and spent last term on loan with Hull before ending the season at Middlesbrough.
His did, however, impress at Boro and Aitor Karanka is eager to snap up the 25-year-old on a permanent basis after the club’s promotion to the Premier League.
Veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis has also been released by Southampton, although he is in talks over a new role behind the scenes at the club.
The 39-year-old joined Saints when they were a League One club in 2006 and had a testimonial last week.
Executive director of football Les Reed said: “Kelvin has been instrumental in the club’s success in recent years, playing a key part in what has been a special time for everyone involved.
“He has set the perfect example since he arrived at the club 10 years ago.
“Kelvin’s tremendous passion and commitment to the club are two of the reasons why we are currently in conversations with him about a new role moving forward, in which he can continue to help the club’s progression.”
Young goalkeeper Will Britt has also left the Saints after his contract expired.