AITOR KARANKA wants three new players added to his Middlesbrough squad before the transfer window closes on September 1 – and all his recruits could still arrive from Chelsea.
Despite being in discussions with a number of Premier League clubs over possible loan acquisitions, the Stamford Bridge contingent are the players most likely to arrive at this stage.
Forward Patrick Bamford , who was at the training ground on Monday, has asked to have until the weekend to decide his next move amid interest from Wolves for his services after impressing at Derby and MK Dons last season.
But Karanka, who admitted he is interested in Bamford’s team-mates George Saville and Lewis Baker, wants to bring in a new midfielder following the departure of Richie Smallwood to Rotherham on Tuesday. A full-back to compete with Damia Abella is also being tracked.
“We are working to get another right-back, even though I’m happy with Damia,” said the boss. “I am grateful to Seb Hines for playing there when I have asked him, but I know it’s not his position. We need another one.
“We are working to find another midfield player also. I am very confident we will get players in. It’s in our hands because we have done everything to convince them to join us. If they say no, we will have to move on other players.”
Middlesbrough are not expecting to have any new deals done in time for tomorrow’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday, although Karanka is keen to have transfer business concluded before the deadline.
Football League clubs can still sign players on emergency loans seven days later, but Karanka would prefer to know where his squad stands before then.
He said: “We are working until the last day. I don’t have the squad at the moment which I would like to have. I’m happy with the players I have here, but I would still like to make changes to try to make my squad full.
“We are working but not just with Chelsea, we are working with other big teams in the Premier League. I like to work with other clubs. Everyone knows about my link with Chelsea because of Jose [Mourinho], but it’s not just about Jose and me.
“There is another player we could bring in as well and he knows the desire we have to have him. I hope we can get things done as soon as possible. I would like to finish my transfers before the deadline.”
Boro have also shown an interest in Bosnian World Cup full-back Avdija Vrsajevic, but their attempts to land him were complicated by red tape when he applied for a work permit.
Whatever happens in the next nine days, Karanka has learned a lot from his first summer transfer window in frontline management. He said: “It’s been frustrating because it has been my first one, so I thought it would be easier. I am sure my next will be easier because I am learning. I have learned I have to be more patient.”
But he has urged would-be loan signings such as Bamford to follow the example set by Kenneth Omeruo, who moved from Chelsea in November and has returned this season.
Karanka said: “We are working to convince Patrick and he knows how important he can be for us. I think Kenneth is the best example for everybody.
“Ken came last season and he didn’t play every game, but came here in November, didn’t start in the beginning and then finished at the World Cup. That is what can happen and for me Ken shows how important a move to Middlesbrough can be for a player.”
Defender Ben Gibson is to return to full training next week after hamstring trouble. Gibson will not be rushed back before the international break, however.