Middlesbrough have been the busiest Premier League club in this summer’s transfer market, but manager Aitor Karanka still wants three more players before the window shuts.
Boro have brought in nine new signings following their promotion back to top flight, the most notable being ex-Manchester City forward Alvaro Negredo and goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
However, the Evening Gazette understands that the Boro boss still has three positions that he wants to fill before the window closes on August 31.
Centre back is the priority
Karanka has openly admitted that he is still searching for another centre back ahead of his side’s season opener with Stoke next weekend.
Daniel Ayala, who has just signed a new deal with the club, and Bernardo Espinosa are both major doubts for that game, so it is still unclear who will partner Ben Gibson at the back.
Boro’s pursuit of Neven Subotic fell through earlier in the window, after the Borussia Dortmund defender failed a medical due to a serious rib issue.
The Teessiders have since had two bids rejected by Hull for the 23-year-old centre half Harry Maguire.
Left-back and attacking midfielder still wanted
However, it also appears that Karanka still wants a new left-back to deputise George Friend, should anything happen to the popular defender.
Friend was one of Boro’s standout players last campaign but is the only recognised left back at the club following James Husband’s shoulder injury.
If Friend was unavailable, for whatever reason, Karanka would have to deploy Adam Reach on the left side of defence or move Gibson across into the full back position.
The third position where Karanka is hoping to recruit is in attacking midfield.
Boro already have Stewart Downing, Viktor Fischer, Carlos de Pena, Gaston Ramirez, Cristhian Stuani, Adam Reach and Albert Adomah, all of whom can play in the three positions behind the striker in Karanka’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
Karanka will have one more chance to access his squad before the new campaign, when Boro take on Real Sociedad at the Riverside tomorrow in their final pre-season game.