NIGEL PEARSON is set for a formal interview about Middlesbrough’s head coach position at the start of next week, with chairman Steve Gibson having already sounded out the former Leicester manager’s representatives.

Pearson is currently on holiday, but is known to be interested in taking over at the Riverside as Boro look to rebuild following their relegation to the Championship.

Gibson is keen to keep a relatively open mind about the managerial position, with Steve Agnew’s future still to be determined after he stepped in to replace Aitor Karanka in March.

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Garry Monk and David Wagner remain alternative options, with the former still to commit his long-term future to Leeds United despite Andrea Radrizzani completing his takeover of the Elland Road club, but Pearson is regarded as a leading contender thanks to his extensive managerial experience.

The 53-year-old has presided over more than 350 games in the Premier League and Championship during spells at Leicester, Hull and Derby.

He won the Championship title with Leicester, and also saved the Foxes from relegation in the 2014-15 season, sparking the recovery that led to them winning the Premier League title in the following campaign.

His time at the King Power Stadium ended under a cloud when he departed after a controversial tour to Thailand, and he also left Derby in acrimonious circumstances after falling out with those above him on the board.

However, Gibson is understood to admire his non-nonsense approach to management, and came close to appointing him when Karanka left in March.

He considered bringing in Pearson in a fire-fighting role, but opted against the move and instead promoted Agnew from his position as assistant manager. The decision backfired, however, when Boro won just one of their last 11 league games and were relegated in 19th position.

Pearson, who has also been linked with the vacant managerial position at Sunderland, is keen to return to the dug-out, and boasts strong links to Middlesbrough having captained the club as a player in the mid-1990s.

If the former skipper is to return to Teesside, he will not be able to call on the services of Victor Valdes as the goalkeeper was formally released from his contract yesterday because of a relegation clause that was agreed when he moved to the Riverside last summer.

Valdes insisted on the clause being included in his contract, and can now move elsewhere as a free agent. Manchester City are leading the race for his services, with Pep Guardiola having worked with him during his time at Barcelona.

Valdes started 28 Premier League games as Boro were relegated, but while he made a string of impressive saves, he also committed a number of errors, with the mistake that led to Manchester United’s final goal at the Riverside standing out.

He missed the final seven games of the season, with Agnew claiming a rib injury was preventing him from taking his place in the team.

Boro’s goalkeeping position is in a state of considerable flux, with Brad Guzan also leaving to join Atlanta United in the MLS. With Tomas Mejias also on his way out, Boro’s only remaining shot-stoppers are Dimi Konstantopoulos, whose only senior appearance this season came in the FA Cup win over Accrington Stanley, and Connor Ripley, who recently returned from a loan spell at Oldham Athletic.

Meanwhile, Boro have confirmed the departure of Victor Orta, with the former technical director set to take up a new post at Leeds.

Orta joined Boro as head of player recruitment in December 2015, with his appointment having been championed by Karanka, who admired his work at Sevilla and Elche.

His departure dismantles one of the last remaining vestiges of the Karanka era, and follows the departure of former head of academy recruitment operations, Thiago Cruz, who left last week.

Orta is expected to be appointed at Elland Road, leading to speculation that Karanka could be in the running to take over at Leeds if Monk turns down the offer of a new deal.