MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka believes he made the right decision not to sign Jozsef Varga, despite being frustrated in his search for a new right-back this summer.
Varga returned to parent club Debrechen in May after his season-long loan at the Riverside expired.
Boro did have the option to sign the 26-year-old on a permanent basis with the Hungarian club asking for a £650,000 fee, but Karanka opted not to bring him back to Teesside, despite the fact he made 36 appearances last season.
Varga was signed by former manager Tony Mowbray as a central midfielder, but the Hungarian international played several games at right-back to fill in for injuries to Frazer Richardson, Rhys Williams and Stuart Parnaby.
While he is a natural midfielder, Varga has also played as a right-back for his country, but asked why he decided not to take up the option of signing him permanently, Karanka said: “It was not for me a surprise to play with Joszef as a right-back, because I know him and I knew that he could play in that position.
“But, at the end of the season, it is better for both parties if we bring in another player.
“If we want success this season we need the right players and I think it was worse for him than for us to get him again and play him at right-back again because he is a midfielder and I think he can have success as a midfielder.
“He's a midfielder, not a right-back and I think we need a right-back.”
Karanka has been frustrated in his search for a natural right-back so far this summer, having seen a deal fall through to sign Juanfran from Real Betis.
The Teessiders had agreed a fee in the region of £1.5m for the 25-year-old, but a move failed to materialise when he received offers from elsewhere.
Boro will welcome Kenneth Omeruo back to the club next week having agreed another loan deal with Chelsea and if Karanka’s search for a right-back continues to drag on, he could be moved into a full-back role even if the Boro head coach is keen to play players in their natural positions.
While his focus remains on signing a striker, right-back and central midfielder, it is understood the Spaniard is also interested in signing a left-back to push George Friend next season.
Liverpool’s Jack Robinson was linked with the Teessiders yesterday, but a number of clubs including Brentford are also said to be looking at the possibility of taking the 20-year-old on loan.