ADAM CLAYTON is expected to finally complete a £1.5m move to Middlesbrough this week and Aitor Karanka is confident more new signings will follow by the end of the month.
Huddersfield are ready to allow the 25-year-old midfielder to go to Teesside to undergo a medical after the initial fee was agreed, although that could rise to £2m depending on add-ons.
The Terriers, though, would prefer to bring in a replacement and they insisted that Clayton was with the Huddersfield first team squad when they met up before last night's friendly with Newcastle. He was not, however, involved because of a kick to the calf picked up against Oldham on Saturday.
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The deal will bring an end to Boro’s long pursuit of the former Leeds man and he will compete with Jacob Butterfield, Dean Whitehead, Grant Leadbitter and Richie Smallwood for the two holding midfield roles in Karanka’s system.
But Middlesbrough’s Spanish boss is not content with his squad just yet, even though he is also understood to be just waiting for the season-long loan deals for Kenneth Omeruo and Patrick Bamford to be rubber-stamped any day by Chelsea.
Boro are still desperate for a new right-back and the search to fill that role has largely been spent on foreign soil.
The Northern Echo understands that Bosnian World Cup defender Avdija Vrsajevic, 28, is currently top of the list after failing to bring in Real Betis’ Juanfran earlier this summer.
And Karanka would still like to have another striker on board to compete with Spaniard Kike for a starting spot, having lost Lukas Jutkiewicz, Marvin Emnes, Danny Graham and Curtis Main this summer. Bamford and Tomlin can play there, although both prefer the No 10 role.
But the imminent acquisition of Clayton has at least ended his push to bring in a new central midfielder. He was Huddersfield’s player of the year last season and has also been wanted by Brighton.
Middlesbrough, however, have persisted with conversations despite struggling to reach an agreement and Huddersfield are set to make a significant profit on a player they bought for £350,000 two years ago.
He will become the fifth confirmed signing of the summer along with Tomas Mejias, Emilo Nsue, James Husband and Kike as Karanka aims to bring Premier League football back to the Riverside.
The Boro boss took the job last October because he felt he was more than capable of delivering that to Teesside again – having almost agreed to play there nine years ago.
Steve McClaren tried to sign him on deadline day only for time to run out so Karanka stayed at Athletic Bilbao and Middlesbrough were given a glowing reference – or two – when he decided to take on the job last year.
Speaking ahead of this Saturday’s Championship opener with Birmingham, he said: “I knew about the club when I came here because I had an offer to play for Middlesbrough in 2005. The problem was the offer came to me on January 31 at four in the afternoon and it was impossible to do anything.
“But Gaizka Mendieta and Geremi were playing here, and I had played with them so I called them to ask about the club and they said that it is an amazing club which I confirmed when I arrived here. Now I am here again to bring back those days.
“This club doesn't just have everything to be a Premier League, it is a Premier League club. The only problem is that the team is not in the Premier League. We are trying to get promotion and that is my first objective, because I feel the club, the people, the owner, the stadium, the training ground, everything is Premier League.
“Obviously you need players for that success and the club is working very hard and if we get the players we want it will be possible. But it is a very tough league and we will have some difficult moments and some easy moments and we have to stay together every day.”