MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka remains hopeful of adding more recruits to his squad before next Saturday’s season opener with Birmingham City, but insists he will wait until the end of the transfer window if it means getting the right players.
Boro confirmed a deal to sign Spanish attacker Emilio Nsue on a three-year deal yesterday, subject to international clearance, and the 24-year-old will be joined by Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo once the required paperwork is completed.
Nsue and Omeruo will take Boro’s tally to five summer signings, but Karanka is still in the market for a right-back, midfielder and striker to help his side challenge for promotion next season.
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The Boro boss could return to Chelsea for Patrick Bamford, while interest remains in Jelle Vossen and Danny Graham.
The Teessiders have also registered an interest in Aston Villa right-back Matthew Lowton, but while Karanka admits he would prefer to have his summer business completed by the time Birmingham visit the Riverside in seven days, the Spaniard acceps that may not be the case.
“I would prefer to have the players as soon as possible,” he said. “The club is working. I know how difficult it is to get players and the most important thing is to have those players by the end of the transfer window. We are all working in one direction and that is to do the best for this club.
“I would prefer to have everyone in before the season starts, because it is important they train with the players and get to know them.
“Kike, Tomas (Mejias) and James (Husband) have come and one or two will be here as soon as possible. The most important thing is to finish the transfer window with the best squad possible.”
Boro round off their pre-season schedule against Villarreal at the Riverside this afternoon with Nsue expected to play some part .
It will be the last chance for Karanka to see his squad in a match environment before next weekend and the Boro boss revealed there is still time for players to stake a claim to start the season opener.
He said: “I am focused on the first 11 for Villarreal, because I don’t like to think too far ahead. It is a chance for the players to impress me and put themselves in the frame to start against Birmingham, but they have the chance to impress me every day.
“I hope I have the same problems that I had when I arrived last season. Every Friday, there were a lot of players who were ready to start the next day.”
Tomorrow will be the first opportunity for many to see the club’s new signings, including Spanish striker Kike, who has made a big impression since joining from Real Murcia.
The 24-year-old is one of five Spanish-speaking players in Karanka’s squad, but the head coach insists the new arrivals have to learn English.
“We are in England and we have to speak English,” Karanka said. “It is very important that I speak to them in English. I will speak to the Spanish lads in Spanish, but when it is possible I would like them all to speak English.
“Before I sign a player I want to know what kind of lad he is. All the Spanish players that I have bought here are very good lads and all of them are asking me for a teacher because they are intelligent and know that it is important to speak in English.
“I know Kike and for him it is very important that I am Spanish, Tomas and Danny (Ayala) are Spanish, Manu (Ledesma) speaks Spanish.
“When you move to a new country it is important to have people who can speak in your language at the start. He is getting more and more confident around the lads and is joking with them.
“Being from the same country will help me get the most out of him. When I was a player I went to play in the USA and for me it was very important that the coach could speak Spanish. It’s very important to help players settle in the country.”