MIDDLESBROUGH are braced for significant summer interest in Djed Spence, with the defender expected to be the subject of approaches from a number of clubs once the transfer window reopens.

Boro officials are aware of strong interest in the 20-year-old from two or three different quarters, with scouting teams having been focusing their attention on Spence over the last few months.

Neil Warnock could find himself with a decision to make over the versatile defender, whose most recent contract extension commits him to the Riverside until the summer of 2023.

Spence has been on the radar of Premier League clubs for quite a while now, with Tottenham known to have been strong admirers in the early stages of the youngster’s career.

Having joined Boro after leaving Fulham’s academy as a teenager, Spence made his senior debut for the club in a League Cup game with Notts County in the summer of 2018.

He established himself as a first-team regular under Jonathan Woodgate in the 2019-20 season, and has continued his development under Warnock this term.

He has made 37 Championship appearances this season, although he has only started three of Boro’s last six matches with his starting spot coming under threat.

Spence will not be the only Boro player in demand this summer, as Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier are also commanding significant interest. Burnley are reportedly lining up another offer from Fry, having previously had a bid of £8m turned down, while Tavernier’s performances in the first half of the season in particular saw him linked with a number of top-flight clubs, including Newcastle United.

However, Warnock has publicly insisted that neither Fry nor Tavernier will be sold this summer, and Boro chairman Steve Gibson is understood to be wholly supportive of his manager’s stance. No matter what bids are tabled for the duo in the close season, both Warnock and Gibson are adamant that they will not be sold.

At this stage, there has been no such public guarantee over Spence, which might help explain the spike of interest in securing his services over the last few weeks.

If Boro decide to sell, though, they will be doing all they can to secure the best possible price for the youngster, whose fee would have to reflect his status as one of the most highly-rated Under-21s in the Football League and his ability to play in a range of different positions in both defence and midfield.

Middlesbrough’s squad is set for a major overhaul this summer, and the club continue to be linked with a potential move for Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou.

Diedhiou, who was strongly linked with a move to Teesside during the January transfer window, is due to become a free agent at the end of the summer, and has repeatedly turned down the offer of a new deal at Ashton Gate.

The Senegalese international is understood to have enjoyed playing under new Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson, but talks over a possible new contract have stalled amid some backroom upheaval, and he is expected to move on at the end of the current campaign.

Warnock, who has also been linked with a possible move for Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke, needs to recruit strikers this summer, with Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher already having been ushered through the exit door.

The Boro boss is looking for a target-man to build his attack around next season, and given his proven track record in the Championship, Diedhiou would fit the bill.