MIDDLESBROUGH are hopeful of completing a loan deal for long-term target Jelle Vossen before tonight’s transfer deadline – and the striker may not be the only late arrival at the Riverside.
Vossen it understood to have arrived in England yesterday to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms after Boro chiefs finally made a breakthrough in their talks with Genk.
The Belgium Pro League outfit have played hardball over a fee for the striker and rejected an offer from the Teessiders earlier in the summer, but it appears the clubs have now agreed an initial season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent move next summer.
And Vossen could be joined by Heerenveen’s Dutch winger Yanic Wildschut, who is expected to sign a permanent deal before tonight’s 11pm deadline.
Boro were in talks with Genk at the same stage of last summer’s transfer window, but a failure to agree a fee meant the forward, who scored 15 goals last season, stayed put.
New Genk manager Alex McLeish had hoped to convince the Belgium striker to stay at the Cristal Arena, but the former Rangers boss revealed last week the 25-year-old remained keen on a move to England and that he would not stand in his way.
That has paved the way for Boro to make fresh move and Karanka revealed after Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Reading that the club is speaking to Vossen.
“We are speaking with Vossen and with other players, because the transfer window finishes on Monday and we will be working until the last second,” the Boro head coach said.
While Karanka hopes to have two new faces in his squad today, it is likely there will be some outgoings at the Riverside with Jason Steele and Andy Halliday among those that could leave.
Both players have barely featured under the Spaniard and have been told they can leave, although Halliday is more likely to go out on loan.
Boro suffered their second successive home league defeat on Saturday, despite Reading arriving at the Riverside missing as many as 11 first-team squad members.
Simon Cox’s seventh minute goal was enough to secure a win for Nigel Adkins side, which infuriated the Teessiders with their time-wasting tactics after taking an early lead.
At every opportunity, the Royals tried to break the flow of the game, and that made it difficult for Middlesbrough to execute their game plan.
“It was frustrating for us,” Karanka said. “In the first half we were a team without spirit or character. We have to improve and we have to work on our consistency. We have to work hard in the next two weeks to improve again and play how we have shown we can this season.
“Their time-wasting did put our team off their rhythm. I’m starting to get a little bit tired because I’m feeling something I don’t like that.
“It’s always the same on bench. We can’t speak with the fourth official or the linesman. The bench is always laughing and joking with them, but I am a little bit concerned with the time they were taking.
“They were letting the keeper have the ball in his hands for 30 seconds and did not do anything about it.
“We had lots of chances. We had Kike, (Patrick) Bamford, (Luke) Williams, (Adam) Reach and (Albert) Adomah, players who can score, but it was difficult for them because the other team didn’t want to play and we lost a lot of time. It was difficult to keep the tempo of the game.”
Boro are not in action again until September 13 due to the international break and after a busy opening period in the Championship, Karanka admitted the time will give him a chance to iron out issued that have been creeping into his team.
On Saturday, Boro should have come away with something having created the better chances and seen more of the ball.
Karanka said: “We lost our consistency because we didn’t have time to train or work on the training ground over the last couple of weeks, but that is the case in this league. We have a one break and then again we have five games in 20 days and because of that we need to spend the next two weeks working with the complete squad.”