MIDDLESBROUGH have withdrawn from the race to sign Sunderland’s Paddy McNair, and will instead switch their attention to alternative midfield targets as they look to make their first summer signing.

Boro agreed a £5m fee for McNair with Sunderland officials at the weekend, but are understood to have grown increasingly frustrated at ongoing discussions with alternative suitors.

Middlesbrough had been keen to tie up personal terms with McNair and his representatives and conclude a deal before the weekend, but McNair’s negotiating team have continued to hold discussions with rival clubs.

Black Cats owner Stewart Donald yesterday admitted that Stoke City had matched Boro’s offer for the midfielder, and hinted there was still a chance of further approaches from teams in the Premier League. Brighton have had a bid of £3m rejected, but are yet to return with an improved offer.

Boro are adamant they will not be entering into a bidding contest or a fight to persuade McNair to sign for them, so have taken the decision to formally withdraw their offer.

Tony Pulis had been keen to sign McNair as he is determined to add an increased goal threat to his midfield ranks this summer, but the Boro boss has also identified a number of alternative targets and the club’s recruitment team will now turn their attention to those players.