JELLE VOSSEN remains keen on a move to Middlesbrough and insists the door is still open for him to move to the Riverside Stadium.
But Aitor Karanka, the Middlesbrough head coach, still wants to add another forward following the departures of Marvin Emnes to Swansea and Lukas Jutkiewicz to Burnley for around £4m combined.
Vossen has been Middlesbrough’s primary attacking target for more than a year but there has been an unwillingness to match Genk’s asking price. Earlier this year, the Belgium club quoted Cardiff City a £7m price-tag.
That has frustrated the 25-year-old, who himself has told his employers that he wants to move to Teesside where he hopes to spearhead Middlesbrough back to the Premier League for the first time since 2009.
“The coach asked me what I would be doing after there was no green light for the move and I said I would play,” said Vossen. “The Middlesbrough avenue is certainly not closed, there are still options. I am not feeling good here and I am confident I can leave.”
Middlesbrough are understood to have had an offer in the region of €4m turned down by Genk already this summer. Having already paid a decent fee for Kike, though, chairman Steve Gibson is unlikely to be going higher.
Gibson is still working on two other areas of the squad, with Huddersfield’s Adam Clayton identified as the central midfielder Karanka wants in his squad, while discussions for a new right-back are at an advanced stage.
But Middlesbrough do not want to go over budget on what they had in mind to spend, which is why the sizeable fee, potentially worth £2.25m, received for Jutkiewicz will come in handy.
There is also interest in a number of other Middlesbrough players, although Karanka wants to retain the services of most. Grant Leadbitter has been one of those to have attracted interest this summer, but there is no real appetite to do a deal.
It has also emerged Nottingham Forest have had an offer rejected for Albert Adomah. It is only a year since Tony Mowbray agreed to pay £1m to take him from Bristol City to Teesside and Forest have made their move.
Adomah was in and out of the Middlesbrough side initially under Karanka but ended the season strongly and went to the World Cup with Ghana. He has been given extra time off because of his Brazil call-up so has not travelled on the pre-season trip to Marbella.
Middlesbrough could be willing to do business if they receive an offer that represents a decent profit. There is also said to be interest in him from the Premier League.
Kike, meanwhile, trained with the rest of the Middlesbrough squad for the first time yesterday in Spain and he could figure in the friendly with Lucena tonight (6pm). They then face Real Balompedica Linense on Saturday at 11am and Atletico Clube de Portugal on Monday before returning to the North-East.