Nick Gubbins, the Middlesex top-order batter, is close to completing a move to Hampshire which will see him join the club on loan for the rest of the season as a precursor to a permanent deal.
Gubbins, 27, was Middlesex's leading scorer in their County Championship-winning season in 2016 with 1,409 first-division runs at 61.26 including four hundreds. He has been part of several England Lions squads across formats in the years since, but struggled to score consistently in red-ball cricket, averaging 24.15, 34.41 and 22.08 in the three Championship seasons between 2017 and 2019.
His form has improved in the last two years, with a first-class average of 37.56 since the start of last summer's Bob Willis Trophy, and he made a brilliant fourth-innings 124 against Surrey at The Oval in May from No. 3. But with his contract up at the end of the season, he has decided to turn down an extension at Middlesex and join Hampshire instead.
Gubbins has made three appearances in the T20 Blast this season but dropped out of the squad for Friday night's game against Somerset, and it is anticipated that his move will be confirmed in the coming days, with a loan for the rest of the season preceding a multi-year contract. Middlesex are also expected to confirm extensions for a handful of out-of-contract players in the next few weeks.
Gubbins will be Hampshire's replacement for Sam Northeast, who, as revealed by the Evening Standard on Friday, is set to leave the club despite signing a contract at the start of this season that was due to run until the end of 2022. Northeast will initially move to Yorkshire, who are missing several senior batters on England duty or to injury, on a short-term loan deal.
Northeast, considered by some to be the best uncapped batter in the country, joined Hampshire from Kent ahead of the 2018 season and has performed solidly, averaging 36.92 in first-class cricket and 51.62 in List A cricket. But his T20 returns have tailed off significantly, and he was dropped after the first game of this season's Blast. He has been left out of their matchday squads for the past two weeks while weighing up his options, and his departure is expected to be confirmed by the club shortly.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98