MIDDLESBROUGH and Sunderland are both lining up summer moves for Manchester United youngster Ethan Galbraith.

Galbraith, who has spent the current campaign on loan at League Two side Salford City, will become a free agent when his Manchester United contract expires later this summer.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been told he will not be offered a new deal at Old Trafford, and has already confirmed his departure from his Premier League employers.

While he has spent the last nine months performing in the third tier, he is a full Northern Ireland international and has been tipped for big things throughout his time with Manchester United.

He is set to receive a number of approaches from clubs in the Championship, with Middlesbrough and Sunderland both preparing offers.

Boro boss Michael Carrick worked with Galbraith when he was handed a role on Manchester United’s coaching staff following his retirement from playing in 2018.

Galbraith joined the Reds from Northern Irish side Linfield in 2017 and signed his first professional contract the following year. Carrick has monitored his progress since taking over at Middlesbrough last October, and has also been receiving updates from his former Manchester United colleagues who are involved with Salford, where Galbraith has excelled this season. The midfielder made 32 appearances as Salford made the League Two play-offs, where they lost to Stockport County in the semi-finals.


Sunderland will compete with Middlesbrough for his services, and will be hoping Tony Mowbray’s reputation for nurturing young players will improve their chances of pulling off a deal.

Mowbray has promoted a number of youngsters to Sunderland’s first team this season – the Black Cats had the youngest side in the Championship by a considerable margin – and will stress to Galbraith and his representatives that there is a pathway to the starting line-up at the Stadium of Light.

They can also highlight the development of Galbraith’s Northern Ireland team-mate, Trai Hume, as proof that youngsters can progress at a rapid rate under Mowbray.

Galbraith, who had a previous loan spell at Doncaster Rovers, said his goodbyes to his Salford team-mates in the wake of their play-off semi-final defeat, and has also accepted that his time as a Manchester United player is coming to an end.

“After six years, my time has come to an end with this magnificent club at Manchester United,” said Galbraith. “I want to thank the club, coaching staff and players for helping me become a better player, a better person and for making me feel at home.

“My earliest ambition as a boy was to become a professional footballer and I’m forever grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity and support to fulfil that dream.

“It’s been a privilege and I feel very fortunate to have been able to represent the club. I step into the next chapter of my career a more mature, rounded person, and I’m excited for what’s next.”