MIDDLESBROUGH are keeping an eye on one of the most promising attacking midfielders in the Eredivisie but face plenty of Premier League competition for his signature.

Boro scouts have been to Holland on talent spotting missions and have been impressed with attacking midfielder Ali Messaoud, who is a free agent this summer.

Messaoud, 24, and his representatives have started to talk to interested clubs and he has the option of heading for England as well as staying in Holland.

His club Willem II would like to keep him after scoring 15 goals in the last two seasons from midfield, but accept the lure of greater finances could prevent him from staying.

Swansea City and Stoke City have been mentioned as possible Premier League destinations for him, while Leeds and Nottingham Forest are reported to be rivals from the Championship.

After Dean Whitehead was released, Aitor Karanka only has Grant Leadbitter, Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw vying for the central midfield roles, unless he was willing to hand chances to academy graduates such as Bryn Morris.

The head coach has had discussions with chairman Steve Gibson and chief executive Neil Bausor to determine what moves will be made in the transfer market this summer. One of the main priorities is a striker following Patrick Bamford’s return to Chelsea at the end of his loan.

Bamford, who Karanka would like back at the Riverside, is attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs.

West Bromwich Albion have joined the growing number of top-flight teams showing an interest in the England Under-21 international. Tony Pulis is ready to try to sign the £10m-rated player permanently, although Jose Mourinho is thought to be more interested in striking a Premier League loan deal to see how he copes with playing at the highest level.

Bamford has not gone on international duty with the Under-21s because of the ankle injury he suffered towards the back end of the season. He could have been in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championships along with Ben Gibson.

The Middlesbrough defender warmed up for the Championships by scoring the winner for England against Belarus at Barnsley on Thursday night and is now heading to the Czech Republic hoping to play a big part.

Gibson said: “(It was) Nice to finally get a goal. I’ve missed a few chances – even on the night, so it was nice to finally get one in the end. More importantly, it was a good run out for the boys, more minutes under our belts and a good test in the end.

“It wasn’t that simple because it was on my right peg so it was a bit of a swing! As I said, I should’ve scored in the first half and I had a couple of chances in the Germany game, so it was good to get on the scoresheet.”

Now Gibson’s focus is on the finals. He added: “It’s been a really positive two weeks and has got the lads back up and running again. People feel fit, there have been no injuries and we feel ready. We’re really excited for the test that lies ahead and as I said, we’re just excited now.”