Middlesbrough sign Patrick Bamford in £6m deal

Middlesbrough sign Patrick Bamford in £6m deal

The young forward returns to the club where he had his most productive goalscoring spell in the 2014/15 season

Sam France

Middlesbrough have made their second signing of the January transfer window with a permanent move for former loan star Patrick Bamford, who joins on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

Bamford joins on the back of a series of frustrating loan spells at Crystal PalaceNorwich City and Burnley, after being named Championship Player of the Year while on loan at Boro two seasons ago.

The 23-year-old is thought to have joined for an initial fee around the £6 million mark, with future incentives for Chelsea based on appearances, goals, international caps and Middlesbrough's fight against relegation.

Bamford looks to reignite career on Teesside

The striker has failed to make an impression at any of his past three loan clubs, but has rarely been given the opportunity to shine at the highest level.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is a big admirer of Bamford, having seen him score 19 goals in 44 games while on loan in 2014/15, despite a slow start which often saw him deployed on the wing.

This form saw Bamford tipped as one of the brightest prospects in the country at that time, but his stock has dropped dramatically since then.

Now, the Spaniard will be hoping he can help Bamford recapture that form and bolster his attacking options, which have currently yielded the lowest goal return in the top flight.

Rhodes on the exit path

Bamford's return could mean the end of the road on Teesside for Jordan Rhodes, with reports in the Birmingham Mail claiming that Aston Villa have made a formal approach for the prolific poacher.

Boro will be looking to recoup much of the £11 million they eventually paid for the Scotland international last January, but could be persuaded to agree to a loan move with Rhodes then available should Middlesbrough fail to survive the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the Premier League this season.

Meanwhile, Boro are still thought to be keen on Spanish attacking trio Bojan KrkicGerard Deulofeu and Jese Rodriguez.