MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka is targeting another “two or three” permanent additions before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Karanka has added five players to his squad so far this summer, with Tomas Mejias, James Husband, Emilio Nsue and Kike arriving on a permanent basis, and Kenneth Omeruo rejoining on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
Another two potential signings are in the pipeline, with deals close to being agreed for Osasuna full-back Damia Abella and Huddersfield Town midfielder Adam Clayton.
Neither player is expected to sign in time for Saturday’s Championship opener with Birmingham City, but Karanka is hoping for further additions before the transfer window closes on August 31.
“It’s difficult to say exactly, but at the moment, I would like to have two or three more players,” said the Boro head coach. “I would like that before the finish of the window.”
A £1.5m deal for Clayton was agreed earlier in the week, but it initially hinged on Jacob Butterfield agreeing to move to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Butterfield, who trained at Rockliffe Park this morning, has effectively refused to move to Huddersfield, and the Terriers are refusing to move on Clayton until they have a replacement in place.
They have signed youngster Conor Coady from Liverpool, but also want a more experienced midfielder in their ranks before they will give Clayton permission to travel to the North-East.
“Adam Clayton is a very good player, but at the moment he is not my player,” said Karanka. “I prefer to just speak about the players that are my players.”
Abella could be confirmed as a Boro player before the weekend given that he is due to arrive on Teesside later today to undergo a medical and complete personal terms.
The 32-year-old, who was part of the Barcelona squad that won the La Liga title in 2004, is set to sign a two-year deal after engineering his exit from Osasuna, who were relegated from the Spanish top-flight last season.
“We have been working for a number of months, but it is difficult because all the teams are in the same position,” said Karanka. “We are all waiting for players, but the most important thing is that the players arrive before the transfer window is finished.
“For this reason, we have to work on the pitch preparing for the matches that are coming up, and the players will come in little by little.”