Middlesbrough are stepping up their pursuit for Valencia right-back Antonio Barragán.
Boro have sent a small contingent to the Spanish city today in the hope of securing a loan deal for highly-rated striker Álvaro Negredo, but Barragán is also an intended target.
The 29-year-old could be a Boro player by the end of this week after initial talks were held a couple of days ago.
The defender has just a year left on his contract, after signing for Valencia from Real Valladolid in 2011, but now the Spanish club appear ready to cash in on him.
Boro have watched him closely
A number of Boro scouts have watched Barragan over the past two years and manager Aitor Karanka is a big fan.
Emilio Nsue was Boro’s first-choice right-back in the Championship last campaign, but it is believed that Barragan’s defensive awareness and athleticism could help to provide more competition.
Barragan is former Spanish under-21 international and has also played for their under-19 and under-20 teams.
Over 100 appearances for Valencia
He signed for Liverpool as an 18-year-old back in 2005, but made just one appearance in his two-year spell at Anfield.
Barragán then spent three years at Deportivo La Coruña, where he played 34 times in all competitions, before he was sold to Valladolid for an undisclosed fee in 2009.
Following Valladolid’s relegation from La Liga in 2010, Barragán joined Valencia for a reported fee of €1.5 million a year later.
He has made 140 appearances for the Spanish giants, including 23 in European competitions, while his most successful season came in the 2014/15 campaign when he played 36 times in all competitions.
Time for a change of scene
However with young Portuguese full back João Cancelo nipping at his heels Barragán's time at Valencia appears to be up, and last year he made just 15 league appearances.
Barragán's signature would certainly give Boro more options at the back, and despite Nsue’s energetic performances last season the Valencia man would provide more experience at the highest level.
He would also add to Boro’s growing Spanish contingent, after the Teessiders signed goalkeeper Víctor Valdés last week.