MIDDLESBROUGH manager Chris Wilder has confirmed that Riley McGree will join the club on a permanent deal with the club waiting on international clearance to rubber stamp the deal.

McGree, 23, was at Rockliffe earlier this week for talks and a medical. He is expected to complete his move from MLS Charlotte FC today with the hope that he will be available for tomorrow’s game against Reading.

Boro have beaten off stiff competition for McGree’s signature with Celtic tabling an offer for the Australian midfielder. However, Celtic boss Agne Postecoglou confirmed yesterday that the Scottish Premiership side had lost the race to sign him.

Wilder said: “We’re delighted at another young player that we’ve managed to capture on a permanent deal.

“Obviously there are certain situations that you have to deal with whether it’s in the loan market or from a permanent point of view.

“The area that I looked at was energetic, talented, enthusiastic, young players as well on permanents. We have to build our assets up.

“One of the things we looked at now is from an asset point of view, the boys that we’ve got in the building, we’ve certainly got an asset in signing Riley McGree.

“He’s just got to go through the final bits and pieces. Fingers crossed he will be involved tomorrow. We beat off strong competition.

“We’ve known about this player for a long time by the way.”

McGree has made 27 appearances across two spells at Birmingham City and scored three goals before ending his loan spell in the Midlands in early December. 

While a reported fee of £5 million for McGree has done the rounds, it’s understood to be wide of the mark with the fee considered to be substantially less.

With Boro conducting a busy January transfer window and looking set to confirm their fourth signing, Wilder was quick to debunk rumours that a lot of money has been spent to get these players in.

The Boro boss added: “There is a lot of nonsense being talked by the way, I need to get to the bottom of it, that we’ve blown people out of the water in terms of fees, wages with Flo (Balogun), Aaron Connolly, with Riley McGree. We’ve been into these players for a while now.

“We’ve understood the deals and the situations. As it happens, these boys that are coveted by a lot of other clubs, I think genuinely, you ask all three players where they wanted to come and wanted to be and they’ve got their opinion.

“Are they going to say that? Yeah. But I fully believe that they want to be here, especially in Riley’s case. I’ve known about Riley for quite a while now and I think that goes to the hard work that we put in. In terms of the players, the characteristics, what we identity, what type of player we want to bring to the club.

“We’re bringing an Aussie in so I would have been able to give him a little bit of stick this morning (about the Ashes). You understand the mentality of Australian sportspeople and understanding, after speaking to Riley, what he’s about and what makes him tick. He’s ambitious, he’s aggressive, he wants to do well, he’s a winner.

“I looked at the balance of the group and we were quite light on left footers as well. Riley can sit in as a two, play as an eight, play as a left-wing back and can play as a ten as well. Very versatile and a talented young player and I’m delighted to bring him to the football club.

“We like to think they are coming for a football reason. They are not coming because from a financial point of view. We have been competitive and I think there is a lot of other things that have swayed and players have decided to come here, Connolly, Balogun and McGree for other reasons apart from the obvious one that has been touted about.”

Meanwhile, Wilder confirmed that the club have made four of their first-team players available for transfer.

Uche Ikpeazu, Marcus Browne, Onel Hernandez and James Lea-Siliki will all be allowed to leave before the end of the month. Ikpeazu and Browne are allowed to leave on a loan or permanent deal while Hernandez and Lea-Siliki will need to find new clubs before their loans can be terminated.