Emile Heskey appears set for a swift return to the Premiership after Fulham became the first club to register a formal bid for the Birmingham City forward, believed to be in the region of £3m.

Fulham appear set to lose Steed Malbranque to Liverpool or, more probably, the French champions Lyon and are keen to recruit Heskey, who prior to his club record £6.25m move to Birmingham from Liverpool had averaged a goal for every three Premiership starts.

Heskey won 43 international caps with England but despite the injury problems Sven-Goran Eriksson has had to deal with among his strikers, was overlooked for the current World Cup. The 28-year-old has had a season to forget as Birmingham were relegated and he scored in only three of his 34 Premiership appearances.

Despite the disappointment of last season, there is bound to be competition for Heskey. The striker hit 10 goals in the 2004-5 season as Birmingham finished 12th and, with Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers also in the market for a forward of Heskey’s stature, he is bound to generate interest.

Fulham have already been active in the transfer market with the arrival of Jimmy Bullard from Wigan after a £2.5m bid triggered a release clause in the 27-year-old’s contract.

Fulham have also been linked with a return to the JJB Stadium with a bid for the striker Jason Roberts but have been unable to open dialogue with the Wigan board.

Though Roberts is keen on a move away from Wigan, after receiving a contract extension offer he considered unacceptable, it may require Heskey’s departure from Birmingham to spark a series of transfers that would precipitate his move.