GARRY MONK has confirmed Middlesbrough are deep in discussions with Chelsea over the signing of midfielder Lewis Baker.

As revealed in The Northern Echo, Boro are confident of tying up a two-year loan for the 22-year-old and he will effectively take the place of Atalanta-bound Marten de Roon in Monk’s squad.

De Roon was in Italy to thrash out the terms of a contract that has seen himhead back to the Serie A club, just 12 months after arriving in a 10m euros deal.

Middlesbrough  accepted an offer worth 15m euros from Atalanta and that has enabled Monk to continue his own rebuilding job.

Former Vitesse and MK Dons loanee Baker will be the next stage of that, with Middlesbrough left clear in their belief he has opted for Middlesbrough rather than Reading, Aston Villa or Birmingham.

Monk said: “He is one we are obviously targeting and hoping over the next couple of days it will be resolved. Whichever way it goes it will be resolved. We are hopeful.”

Middlesbrough have not ruled out the deal being concluded in time for him to be involved against Sheffield United at the Riverside on Saturday.

Even if it was to go through in time he is unlikely to play given he has not worked with the first team squad on the training ground this week to hear what Monk wants.

With the exception of de Roon leaving, there are no other expected absentees from the Middlesbrough team which lost at Wolves last Saturday. No injuries have been reported, while the manager described talk that Grant Leadbitter is wanted at Sunderland as “speculation”.

Monk, due to follow up de Roon’s departure by landing Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker on a two-year loan as revealed in The Northern Echo, admitted the Holland international was on his way out of the Riverside.

On de Roon’s situation yesterday, Monk said: “The update is that we allowed him (Marten) to speak with another club.

“We have worked on options to come in, as I have said before we still want to work on incomings and outgoings and people we want to come in.

“I said last week we have done the bulk of our transfer work, it’s been a high transition, high number leaving and many have come in. There’s still bits to be done.

“You want to try to get as much finalised as quickly as possible. It’s not always that easy. We have our targets and hopefully we can have those done as soon as possible.”

Liverpool forward Sheyi Ojo and Birmingham defender Ryan Shotton are two of Monk’s other leading targets, while there remains interest in a number of his own players.

In an ideal world the Middlesbrough boss feels the transfer window would already have shut to enable him to concentrate on the football – and on getting the team dancing to his tune on the field of play.

He is, though, still certain the players are making progress and understand what he wants from them ahead of the visit of Sheffield United.

Monk said: “The window should stop on the Friday before the first game, I don’t know why it stays open. The window should be shut before the season openers. Unfortunately it’s not that way at this moment in time.

“We will try to work as quickly as possible to get things right. From my experience you do need time, there has been a big transition. You have to remember that the confidence was lowered last season, you need to remember that. There is a lot of work, a lot elements to our work. Everyone is working hard.

“The whole club took a knock in confidence last season. Players trusting themselves, how good they can be, confidence does take a knock. It is our job that is our job, we have to focus on what is ahead rather than the past.

“There are a lot of elements, the players are working extremely well. The confidence will come with performances and results. I am very confident in the group. It takes time, we have to work in the short term as well to get the results and hopefully they will reach full potential.”