WITH Middlesbrough fast approaching their return for pre-season training in the next few weeks, the club’s search for a new striker is hotting up with a number of deals in the pipeline.

Following the club’s first transfer breakthrough of the summer yesterday, Boro are now pushing hard to bring in a new forward for the summer months and it's understood their are a number of deals in the pipeline. The club agreed a deal to bring Blackburn Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan to the club on a four-year deal. He is expected to link up with the squad once his contract expires at Ewood Park at the end of the month.

Boro are currently holding an interest in Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle. The 32-year-old is likely to be moved on by the Magpies in the summer.

Gayle is settled in the North-East but wage demands would be a current stumbling block with Boro unable to match what he is currently on at the Tyneside club. However, with Gayle’s desire to remain in the North-East coupled with Newcastle’s desire to move him on, all parties may well come to a compromise to push the deal through.

The former Crystal Palace man has been starved of regular game time at Newcastle and made just nine appearances without starting a Premier League game. With the imminent arrival of Reims striker Hugo Ekitike to St James Park, Gayle will be push further down the pecking order at the club.

Chris Wilder’s side have also recently been linked with a move for Southampton frontman Adam Armstrong.

There has been no suggestion that the Saints would be willing to move Armstrong on but after a difficult first season on the south coast, they may well consider it if they can strengthen in attacking areas following Armando Broja’s return to Chelsea after his loan spell came to an end.

The former Newcastle United striker signed for the Saints last summer for a reported fee of around £15 million from Blackburn Rovers to fill the void left by Danny Ings who moved to Aston Villa. However, Armstrong scored just two goals in 28 appearances last season with Albanian Broja filling the striker’s position for the majority of the campaign.

Coventry City frontman Viktor Gyokeres is attracting interest from a host of clubs, including Boro, after his 18 goal haul last season for the Sky Blues. Fulham and recently relegated Burnley have also been linked with a move so Boro would need to stump up to bring the Swedish international to the club.

Reports suggest that Boro, who are looking to swiftly resolve the future of coveted defender Djed Spence, would struggle to match the financial power of those interested and would use the budget from Spence’s impending transfer to fund a move for Gyokeres.

As things stand, Tottenham currently lead the race for Spence with Boro commanding a fee of no less than £15 million. Nottingham Forest have already declared their desire to bring him back to the City Ground following his outstanding year in their promotion winning season.

Aston Villa youngster Cameron Archer is the latest to be linked with a move to Boro. The 20-year-old caught the eye last season with a flurry of goals for the club’s Under-21’s side Premier League 2 and EFL Trophy scoring nine before January.

That earned him a loan move to Championship side Preston North End where he netted seven in 20 games for the Lilywhites.

Boro’s misgivings in the attacking department is something that Wilder and head of football Kieran Scott are keen to rectify next season with the club’s strikers not failing to provide the goods. Midfielder Matt Crooks ended up as the club’s top scorer last season with 11 goals in all competitions.

Andraz Sporar, Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun have all returned to their parent club’s following their loan spells on Teesside. Boro currently have Duncan Watmore, Josh Coburn, Uche Ikpeazu and Chuba Akpom in the forwards department. However, Ikpeazu and Akpom are likely to be moved on after returning from their loan spells at Cardiff City and PAOK respectively.