Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing in action with Birmingham's Ryan Shotton
Birmingham City have made an improved offer to sign Derby County defender Ryan Shotton on a permanent basis after a successful loan spell, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.
Shotton joined Birmingham last January on loan until the end of the season and the 27-year-old made nine appearances at St Andrews.
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett
After getting a regular run in his preferred position of centre half Shotton impressed Blues boss Gary Rowett and he admitted he would be keen to sign the player permanently.
Birmingham’s Ryan Shotton and Burnley’s Ashley Barnes in action
Shotton is due to link up with Derby for pre-season training, but the player has previously indicated he would be interested in a move to Birmingham.
Shotton is entering the final year of his contract at the iPro Stadium and it remains to be seen if he will figure in new Derby boss Nigel Pearson's plans.
Birmingham have been in talks with Derby since the end of last season and they have now made an improved offer as they look to secure the signature of Shotton.
Former Stoke man Shotton initially joined Derby on loan in the summer of 2014 before making the move permanent the following January, but he has struggled to hold down a regular spot in the Derby side.
Reading's Stephen Quinn in action with Birmingham's Ryan Shotton