MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka is confident Kenneth Omeruo will be back at the Riverside next season after he revealed the defender has indicated a desire to return to the club.
Omeruo is currently on holiday following an impressive World Cup campaign in Brazil, where he helped Nigeria reach the last 16 of the competition.
After returning to Chelsea at the end of last season, the 20-year-old signed a new four-year deal, but the Blues are looking to loan him out once again following a successful spell on Teesside.
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Omeruo impressed greatly at the heart of Boro’s defence, contributing to six clean sheets in 14 starts under Karanka. The young defender took that form into the World Cup and helped the Super Eagles keep two clean sheets before they were knocked out by France in Brasilia on Monday.
The Boro boss has made no secret of his desire to bring him back to the club for a second spell and having kept in contact with the defender throughout the summer, Karanka is confident of landing his man.
“I hope he will come back,” Karanka said. “I have spoken to him and he has told me he wants to join us.
“We are speaking with Chelsea at the moment. They want him to go out on loan again and I don’t think we will have any problems bringing him here.
“He needs a big rest after the World Cup so I think he will probably come after we return from Spain. The season is very long and the players need to rest.
“I spoke to him and he said he’s learned a lot from playing at a World Cup and enjoyed it. For him, it was a very good experience.
“There’s a risk that other teams will want him because he has done so well at the World Cup, but I spoke to him before it started and he told me he wanted to join us. Chelsea want to send him here so I hope we can get it sorted as soon as possible.”
Omeruo joined Boro alongside fellow Chelsea youngster Nathanial Chalobah last season and with his strong links to the Stamford Bridge outfit, Karanka revealed the centre-back may not be the only player joining from Mourinho’s squad.
He said: “There are others we are looking at with Chelsea, but we will have to wait. Jose has a lot of players at the World Cup and he is starting pre season with a lot of young players. We have to wait for any others to happen.”
Karanka is in the market for players in a number of positions, but so far he has been frustrated in his attempts to strengthen his ranks.
His move for Spanish right-back Juanfran isn’t completely dead. There is still an offer on the table for the 25-year-old, but Karanka revealed his fellow countryman is mulling over other offers before making a decision on his future.
“He’s a very good footballer,” the Boro boss said. “I know him from his time at Real Madrid. He can play as a right back and a winger. He’s not very big but he’s strong.
“We have spoken to him and to Real Betis. He is thinking over our offer. It is important for us to get players who want to come here. We are working on other players.
“It is in his hands, he has other offers from Spain and we can’t wait for him to make a decision so we are looking at other options.
“I would like to have had three or four new players in by now but the club is doing everything it can.
“I can’t say anything other than the club is working hard to bring in the players. We have to bring in the right players. We can’t make mistakes, we can’t take risks.
“We have waited six or seven months for a striker but we have to make sure we get the right players in.
“I hope we can get players in as soon as possible, but we can’t make mistakes. I’d prefer to wait one more week to get the right player than get the wrong player straight away.”
Boro's trip to Leeds United will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and has now been moved to a 12.15pm kick-off.
The first away game of the season at Elland Road is on Saturday, August 16 and is one of five Championship games which will air live on Sky throughout August. It follows Boro's season opener at home to Birmingham City the previous weekend.