MIDDLESBROUGH have left the door open for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing to secure a new contract, even though the forward was included on the list of players released by the club yesterday.

As well as rubber-stamping the departure of Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher as free agents, Boro also confirmed that Jordan Archer, Marvin Johnson and Mendez-Laing had not been awarded new contracts.

Tyrone O’Neill, Cole Kiernan and Tyler Williams have not had their Under-23s deals extended, while scholars George Waites and Andrew Wilson have been released.

Johnson’s departure was something of a surprise given his involvement in all bar four of Middlesbrough’s matches this season, but while Neil Warnock valued the 30-year-old’s versatility down the left-hand side, he is confident of being able to secure a superior replacement for similar money this summer. As a result, he was happy to let Johnson go.

Mendez-Laing did not get much of a chance to impress after joining Boro on a short-term deal at the start of February, but having worked with the forward at Cardiff City, Warnock remains an admirer of his talents.

At the moment, Boro officials regard Mendez-Laing’s demands as unrealistic, and given the 29-year-old’s injury issues, the Teessiders would only be willing to offer a contract that was heavily dependent on appearances.

Mendez-Laing’s representatives are talking to a number of different parties, but if those discussions fall through, Warnock has told the Midlander he is free to link up with the Boro squad for the start of pre-season training, at a which point another round of discussions could take place.

With domestic attacking target James Collins set to join Cardiff, Boro have been linked with a possible move for FC Midtjylland striker Sory Kaba, who scored 11 goals in 27 appearances in the Danish top-flight last season.