MIDDLESBROUGH are hoping to wrap up the loan signing of Arsenal striker Falorin Balogun at the start of next week, with Chris Wilder keen to have “one or two” new additions in the fold ahead of his side’s return to Championship action against Reading.

Boro completed the capture of Aaron Connolly this week, with the forward arriving on a season-long loan from Brighton, and there is a good chance the Irishman could find himself competing with Balogun for a starting spot in the second half of the season.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is keen to send Balogun on loan for the second half of the season, with the England Under-21 international having made just two Premier League appearances in the whole of the first half of the campaign, and Boro officials have agreed the terms of a deal that would take the 20-year-old forward to Teesside.

“We are hopeful that before the Reading game, we can do one or two, and that before the end (of the window), we’ll have done the number that I’m looking at,” said Wilder, who refused to discuss specific targets at yesterday’s press conference.

“We’re in conversation with a couple of Premier League clubs regarding loans. I’ve got to thank the owner, and the work that’s gone on behind the scenes with Neil Bausor and Kieran Scott. We’ve been working very closely for quite a long time.

“We’re delighted to have got Aaron in, and we’re hopeful we will add further because we’ve talked about the need to be smart and add to the group. The team are going well, and I think it’s the right time to strengthen to cement our position and improve it.

“There’s been offers on the table to a couple of clubs, and I’d like to think that when the window shuts, the group will be in a lot better shape than it is now in terms of the balance and depth.”

Balogun’s deal is expected to be a straight loan without a clause for a permanent signing, with Arteta keen to give the youngster an opportunity to prove himself in Arsenal’s senior squad last season.

Connolly’s deal was structured in a similar manner, but as well as making loan additions, Wilder will also be making at least a couple of permanent additions to his squad.

The first was confirmed yesterday, with 21-year-old Northern Irish midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce joining from Birmingham City and going straight into Boro's first-team squad.

"We’re really pleased to bring Caolan in," said Wilder. "He’s a young left-footed central midfielder who we have been tracking for quite a while now.

"He’s been playing regularly in Birmingham’s Under-23s, we’ve been watching him closely, and we’re delighted the opportunity has arisen for us to sign him."

Uche Ikpeazu is expected to be one of the players leaving this month, while Marcus Browne is also set to head out on loan for the second half of the season, with his former club, Oxford United, interested in setting up a deal.

Djed Spence will not be part of Boro’s squad in the remainder of the campaign, with Wilder having decided to keep the loanee at Nottingham Forest. The Teessiders have renegotiated Spence’s loan deal at the City Ground, with Forest understood to be paying a higher loan fee for the second half of the season than had initially been agreed.

“We’ve made the decision that Djed stays out there until the end of the season,” said Wilder. “Financially, we had the ability to improve the contract financially that benefited us, that allows us to maybe invest elsewhere and give us that opportunity to improve the standard of player we’re trying to get in to this football club by allowing Djed to go out.

“I think the biggest thing is the young man that’s playing in that position at the moment (Isaiah Jones). I don’t want to stunt his progression because he’s been outstanding. I'd like to think the supporters will trust in the decisions we make. It was a difficult one, but we’ve made the decision to leave Djed out."