MIDDLESBROUGH'S search for a winger will go to the wire on deadline day with Newcastle United winger Jacob Murphy and Hull City's Kamil Grosicki in their sights – on a day when striker Britt Assombalonga’s future is going to be a hot topic once again.

While Tony Pulis has actively considered options to freshen up his squad’s attack, he has been open to the idea of letting Assombalonga go if replacements are brought in.

And a queue of Championship clubs, as well as Crystal Palace from the Premier League, have shown an interest in the former Nottingham Forest man this week.

Now Middlesbrough, who do not want to be left short in the forward areas, are waiting to hear whether there will be any significant offers made for their record signing.

The £15m buy from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2017 knows Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers are the latest second tier clubs to have let their interest known.

The Northern Echo:

Swansea City and Aston Villa are also known to have previously expressed some form of interest, but the problem clubs have encountered is that Middlesbrough want to recoup a large chunk of the fee they paid.

That has put off plenty potential suitors and Middlesbrough are having to weigh up whether it is worth letting him leave on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent switch. 

But Middlesbrough, who have shown an interest in Brentford striker Neil Maupay since Sunderland’s Josh Maja went to Bordeaux as well as Birmingham’s Isaac Vassell, know they don’t have the striker options to cope if they allow Assombalonga to go without replacing him.

Rudy Gestede has been targeted by Ipswich this month and could still leave before the 11pm deadline. Millwall are hopeful of doing a deal.

It would be a surprise if Ashley Fletcher, wanted by Hull among others, was still on Teesside.
That leaves Jordan Hugill, on loan for the season from West Ham, as the only realistic alternative to Assombalonga in attack, which is why Pulis has had to consider who is available this month. One target, Connor Wickham, seems certain to stay at Crystal Palace now.

Pulis allowed Martin Braithwaite to head to Leganes on loan earlier this month and the only attacking addition so far has been Huddersfield’s Rajiv van la Parra on loan. He has so far not held down a first team shirt.

Middlesbrough’s options in the final third could be boosted if they can secure the services of Murphy or Grosicki. 

Newcastle are willing to let their 23-year-old head out on loan for the rest of the season and West Brom are fighting for his signature too.

Boro know what is required to do a deal for the former Norwich City man, although Hull's Pole Grosicki is a realistic alternative.

The Tigers fancy Ashley Fletcher and Dael Fry, who Boro would want to keep.

Murphy, who was an unused substitute on Tuesday night when the Magpies stunned Manchester City at St James’ Park, has been on the periphery of things for the majority of his time at Newcastle since moving from Norwich in the summer of 2017.

The £12m signing should be allowed to go before the window shuts if Newcastle finalise the proposed deal for Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron.

He was due in the North-East on Wednesday to finalise a club record move to St James’ Park.
Murphy has started 16 games in the league since moving from Norwich for £12m in the summer of 2017. 

Another alternative striker option Pulis is considering is Birmingham’s Vassell. There is a theory in the Midlands that he will be allowed to go so long as Che Adams doesn’t head to the Premier League. 

Blues’ former Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk said: “I have said all along that we can’t afford to lose our best players and the owners are on the same page with that. Whatever is said outside of this club is outside of my control.”

Middlesbrough’s 18-year-old forward Stephen Walker, meanwhile, is set to sign a four-and-a-half year deal amid plenty of interest.