MIDDLESBROUGH could bring in further signings from Chelsea as Aitor Karanka tries to bolster his squad before the start of the new Championship season.
Boro are expected to confirm the arrivals of defender Kenneth Omeruo and Patrick Bamford on season-long loans but Karanka still wants more new faces before Birmingham City arrive at the Riverside Stadium on August 9.
Young Chelsea midfielder George Saville is the latest player from Stamford Bridge to be mentioned as a possible arrival, although Brentford are keen to take him back to Griffin Park too. Middlesbrough could also be looking at the right-back alternatives from the Blues after failing to lure Juanfran to Teesside.
Chelsea are thought to be open to selling Saville on a permanent basis and Wigan have made a couple of attempts to sign him already.
But Karanka’s strong relationship with Jose Mourinho could help secure the deal if Middlesbrough decide to push ahead with a move.
Middlesbrough had hoped to have Huddersfield’s Adam Clayton in by now but the Terriers’ unwillingness to do business has forced a rethink.
Clayton would still be the ideal choice, but Middlesbrough are not prepared to go above their valuation and Huddersfield are seeking in excess of £1.5m.
That has prompted Middlesbrough to explore other options to strengthen that area of the pitch, with Saville a serious contender.
Karanka, whose side face Hartlepool United tonight, does not expect to have any new players involved at Victoria Park, although he hopes to have a couple of new faces involved against Villarreal this Saturday.
Omeruo and Bamford, who will boost defensive and attacking options, are the two most expected, while Doncaster’s left-back James Husband is still set to conclude a move.
Husband, 20, will be a £500,000 recruit and it is likely to see striker Curtis Main head in the opposite direction after he spent the last few days mulling over the switch. He was initially edging towards turning down the move, but it is understood he has warmed to the idea.
Middlesbrough have been given an extra 400 tickets by Hartlepool for tonight’s friendly.