MIDDLESBROUGH hope Lukas Jutkiewicz’s imminent departure will help them to persuade Huddersfield Town to sell midfielder Adam Clayton this week.
Boro head for a week’s training in Marbella this morning without Jutkiewicz, who was finalising a move worth in excess of £1.5m to Premier League newcomers Burnley over the weekend.
The former Coventry and Southampton striker has been sought after all summer by a number of Championship clubs, but none were willing to match Middlesbrough’s valuation. Burnley, however, moved in and reached an agreement.
Jutkiewicz, replaced in Aitor Karanka’s squad by Murcia’s 3.5m Euros front-man Kike when he officially becomes a Boro man this week, has been keen to leave since enjoying a successful loan stint at Bolton last season.
The 25-year-old has never convinced Karanka that he should be the figurehead of the lone striker system he prefers, which has led to Kike being landed. The Spanish boss is also working on a second new striker, with Danny Graham and Jelle Vossen the most likely candidates.
But the funds raised by Juitkiewicz’s sale, confirmed in the next 48 hours, could help in the pursuit of Clayton, identified as the centre-midfielder Karanka wants to start the new season.
Boro have already had a £1m offer rejected by the Terriers, whose interest in Kei Kamara could prove a useful bargaining tool in negotiations. Huddersfield want around £1.5m for Clayton and Brighton also remain interested.
Two new strikers (including Kike), Clayton and a right-back are on the Karanka wish-list. The latter position has proved difficult so far after being knocked back by Real Betis’ Juanfran, since rejecting the chance to buy Jozsef Varga for £600,000.
It has emerged that Cyrus Christie, the Coventry full-back, was also on the radar before he joined Derby last week. Wolves’ Richard Stearman had previously been considered.
Boro do not have any new signings with them on the flight to Spain today, with the exception of goalkeeper Tomas Mejias, who turned his loan into a permanent arrangement from Real Madrid. Mejias was given half an hour’s run-out during Saturday’s behind-closed-doors friendly win over Romanian side Tirgu Mures when all three of Boro goalkeepers were given time on the pitch.
Two goals from Luke Williams and one each for Christian Burgess and Bradley Fewster scored the goals for Middlesbrough in a 4-1 success at West Riding FA. Tirgu’s only goal was scored in the second half when Amauri tucked in a rebound after Steele had failed to hold a powerful drive from Voiculet.
BORO (first half): Konstantopoulos (Mejias 31); Atkinson, Woodgate, Hines, Gibson, Halliday, Whitehead, Smallwood, L Williams, Kamara, Brobbel.
(second half): Mejias (Steele 60); Morris, Ayala, Burgess, Friend, Reach, Butterfield, Smallwood (Leadbitter 60), Tomlin, Main, Fewster.