MIDDLESBROUGH’S recruitment work has already begun ahead of the summer with Chris Wilder and his backroom team casting their eye over potential foreign imports from the European leagues for next season.

Boro haven’t been afraid to dip into the foreign market heading into this season following the permanent signings of Martin Payero from Argentina and the loan signings of Andraz Sporar from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon and James Lea-Siliki from French outfit Rennes.

Wilder has been keen to locate and identify targets ahead of time as Boro approach the end of the season. That may depend on which division they end up in next season but 'the early bird catches the worm' which seems to be the mantra of the manager and the club’s backroom staff.

He acknowledges just how Boro have struck a chord with foreign imports in the past and work is already underway do the same.

“The Championship really is quite something. Part of our recruitment is looking at different leagues overseas as well and this club obvious has a rich history in terms of recruiting foreign players. We have to get that balance right” said the Boro boss.

“With the foreign players, getting the right mentality is huge, the attitude is huge and from a physical stats and data point too, can they reproduce that in the Championship.”

Following conversations last week, the German top tier has been an area where the Boro boss feels players who play in the division can cope with the physicality and demands of the Championship.

Wilder continued: “We sat with the recruitment analyst yesterday, Ash (Ashley Gill), and we talked about different leagues and different data in different leagues, particularly intensity. We were talking about, intensity wise, the Championship is on a par with the Bundesliga, if not slightly above. I would have thought the Bundesliga would have been way above.”

It appears that energy and work rate is the main remit for whoever Boro will bring in through the door in the summer and through the data, they’ve identified the leagues that they believe wouldn’t potentially be the right fit to play in Wilder’s side.

He added: “There are some that are way off of it. You have the South American leagues and the leagues where the build-up is slower tempo. Even the French league was pretty slower compared to the Championship.

“You had the Dutch league and the German league and, in terms of running stats, the Championship is even a little bit above them.”

Boro are preparing for a summer of transfer activity with several players set for the exit door. 

Djed Spence has been heavily linked with a move away from Teesside following a hugely successful season with Nottingham Forest with a host of Premier League clubs said to be monitoring his situation with interest.

Folarin Balogun, Aaron Connolly, Andraz Sporar and James Lea-Siliki will return to their parent clubs following the expiration of their loan deals while Jonny Howson, Sol Bamba and Lee Peltier all see their contracts at the club come to an end this summer.

Meanwhile, Chuba Akpom, Uche Ikpeazu, Dejan Stojanovic and Stephen Walker are all due to return to the club following their respective loan spells.