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Mowbray rules out a Riverside return for McEachran
MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray has ruled out offering a second successive loan deal to Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran.
McEachran spent the whole of last season on loan at the Riverside, starting 35 of Boro's 46 Championship matches before returning to Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho recently revealed he would be sending the England under-21 international back out on loan next season, sparking suggestions that Mowbray could attempt to lure McEachran back to Teesside.
However, with central midfielders Dean Whitehead and Jozsef Varga already having been added to the squad, the Boro boss will not be repeating last season's approach.
“I'm not sure if the position is open now,” said Mowbray. “We've brought Whitehead and Varga in, and Josh is really only a central midfield player.
“He's a very talented boy and, for half a season last year, he performed at a high level for us. But I think those positions are probably filled in our team now. We'll wait and see, but it's not something we've really discussed or talked about.”
The same is true of another potential Chelsea loanee, Nathaniel Chalobah, who spent last season with Watford and helped the Hornets reach the Championship play-off final.
With just nine days to go until the start of the new season, the need for additions is growing increasingly acute, yet Boro are struggling to make a breakthrough with the majority of their leading targets.
They are no nearer to agreeing a deal with Vitor, despite suggestions in the Portuguese press yesterday that the Pacos de Ferreira forward is willing to move to the Riverside if a deal can be agreed that is suitable to all parties.
The situation is complicated by a complex ownership model that is believed to mean that Vitor's registration is part-owned by agent Jorge Mendes, a situation that would have to be modified if he was to move to England.
Hopes of resurrecting a deal for the 29-year-old have not been completely extinguished, but Boro chief executive Neil Bausor is turning the majority of his attention elsewhere as he attempts to push through at least one of the deals that Mowbray clearly feels are required if Boro are to mount a viable promotion push next term.
Scott McDonald's departure by mutual consent has increased the room for manoeuvre in terms of adding to the wage bill, but Mowbray has no desire to sanction more big-name departures in order to raise funds and reduce the wage bill further.
In particular, he has warned Nottingham Forest not to bother making another offer for Grant Leadbitter, who was the subject of two failed bids from the City Ground club earlier this month.
Boro rejected an improved offer of around £2m for the former Sunderland trainee, and while sources in the Midlands claim Forest have refused to draw a line under their interest, Mowbray is adamant there is no chance of Leadbitter leaving Teesside.
“Grant Leadbitter is not going anywhere,” he said. “Anybody who has made any inquires for Grant - and I have to say there's been one or two – has been very firmly told that he's not for sale.
“The bottom line is that Grant is very much on board with us and enjoys training and playing for us. I've talked about needing core players at our club, and he's very much one of them.
“Sometimes a bit of speculation can unnerve a player, but Grant's very focused on playing for us this year and enjoying himself doing it.”
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