7:00am Tuesday 3rd September 2013
By Paul Fraser
TONY MOWBRAY increased his attacking options with the signing of Major League Soccer's Kei Kamara on a two-year contract but Middlesbrough took until after midnight to officially confirm the deal.
And Norwich City midfielder Jacob Butterfield has strengthened Boro's midfield ranks by signing a three-year contract with the option of a further year.
On a dramatic final day of the summer window at Rockliffe Park, Mowbray had to reject offers for both Grant Leadbitter and Rhys Williams while pursuing different avenues to strengthen his squad.
And while Kamara and Butterfield were the only new players to be signed and sealed, Middlesbrough had been trying to conclude deals for a number of others.
Kamara, though, was secured after he arrived in the North-East yesterday to undergo a medical after flying in from the United States and he penned a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old is understood to have cost around £900,000 from Sporting Kansas, where he has become something of a hero for his performances in the last few years.
Kamara Tweeted: “Very happy and thankful for this new chapter of my career with Middlesbrough FC. Can't wait to meet the boys\fans and get started.”
He played 11 times on loan at Norwich towards the back of last season but has been keen to prove himself in England after spells with Columbus Crew, Houston, San Jose and Sporting Kansas.
Kamara does not solve Mowbray's search for a striker, however, he will be able to play on the flanks and can operate through the middle if asked.
The Sierra Leone international, who is 6ft 3in tall, brings plenty of experience and will be a much-needed extra option to the way Mowbray has his team set up.
His signature was the one Middlesbrough spent the majority of the day on yesterday but there were also attempts made to strengthen other areas of the squad.
Butterfield's Norwich team-mate Daniel Ayala was targeted and Mowbray is likely to try again when the emergency loan window reopens in a week.
The pair's Canaries colleague Luciano Becchio was also under consideration, particularly after Reading pulled out of a move for the former Leeds United striker.
Mowbray, who missed out on strikers Ross McCormack and Tokelo Rantie recently, has been desperate to find a new goalscorer this summer and there had been talks over the weekend for Genk striker Jelle Vossen.
The Belgian international is believed to have been keen on moving to Teesside but the clubs could not reach an agreement over a fee for the £4m man. His wage demands could also have been a problem.
And there was also frustration when another of Middlesbrough's potential loan targets, Stephen Ireland, agreed to stay in the Premier League by sealing a season long loan at Stoke City.
Perhaps Middlesbrough's best work of the day was resisting further overtures from Championship rivals for Leadbitter and Williams.
Sources close to Nottingham Forest claim there was a sixth offer from the City Ground amounting to around £3m for Leadbitter in the hours leading up to the deadline.
But with no desire to move from the player and a reluctance for Mowbray to do a deal, the former Sunderland man has remained on Teesside.
There was also fresh interest from Wigan manager Owen Coyle for Williams. Middlesbrough were unwilling to sell their captain so late in the day, so £4.5m-rated Williams stayed at the Riverside.
The Australia international's situation sparked fresh talk of a return to Middlesbrough for David Wheater. That could still be a possibility on loan, with Bolton thought to be keen on letting him go despite recently signing a four-year deal.
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