MIDDLESBROUGH are interested in bringing Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban to the Riverside Stadium, but they won’t make a move for any of their attacking targets until the futures of Marvin Emnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz are resolved.
Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake swiftly reacted to the reports, saying: “No bid has been received for Lewis Grabban from Middlesbrough or any other club.” But that is likely to change given his record in the Championship this term.
Grabban is on a list of several attacking targets – that also includes Leeds United’s Ross McCormack and Reading’s Adam Le Fondre - Aitor Karanka has compiled with the club’s recruitment staff, but formal approaches will not be made until they know what is happening with Emnes and Jutkiewicz.
The former, who spent the second half of the season on loan at Swansea City, is understood to be wanted on a permanent basis by Swans manager Garry Monk, while Jutkiewicz is likely to sign for Bolton Wanderers after his successful loan spell at the Reebok Stadium.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson has promised Karanka funds to strengthen his squad in the transfer window, but how much will depend on the fees departing players will command.
Chief scout Gary Gill is understood to have recommended 26-year-old Grabban to Karanka, but the striker has a £3m buy-out clause in his contract at the Goldsands Stadium. Relegated Cardiff City are ready to trigger that clause, but whether Boro can compete with the Welsh club, and indeed Grabban former club Crystal Palace, rests on how much they can recoup from player sales.
Karanka is ready to overhaul the squad he inherited from Tony Mowbray last November and he is keen to bring Chelsea duo Kenneth Omeruo and Nathanial Chalobah back to the Riverside on new season-long loan deals. The former has been named in Nigeria’s provisional squad for next month’s World Cup in Brazil, and the defender revealed working under Karanka, a defender himself, has helped improve his game.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Middlesbrough,” Omeruo said. “I knew that if I had the chance to play I would keep the position.
“I would like to thank the club, the manager especially for believing in me and playing me. I’m happy that I didn’t disappoint him. I knew I had to play games to be fit for the World Cup and also to make the squad. It’s been a really good season for me.
“It’s easy to play under a manager that has played in the centre of defence. I’m lucky to have the same in the national team (with Stephen Keshi). You get advice from them on how you should play.”