Garry Monk is reportedly looking at influential defender Kyle Bartley, to be his first signing for Middlesbrough. The 26-year-old is currently at Premier League side Swansea City but looks set to leave as he seeks for more game time.
The link between Middlesbrough and Bartley doesn't come as a surprise, as this follows a successful season from the man who was on loan at Leeds United last season. Monk is known to be an admirer of the centre-back, after spending time with him at Leeds. Due to the connection between Monk and Bartley, this move could pick up the pace within the coming days.
Who is Kyle Bartley?
The 26-year-old defender started off his career within the Arsenal youth system, However like most players who come through the academies didn't feature for the club at senior level. Bartley had numerous loan spells at Sheffield United and Scottish Premiership side Rangers, before making the permanent switch to Swansea in 2012 for a fee of around £1 million.
Bartley was loaned out to Birmingham City, but stayed at the Swans for the following season, after impressing new boss Monk. He signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2017, and slowly made his way into the starting 11. The sacking of Monk saw Bartley get considerably less game time, and was loaned out to United last season, with Monk in charge. The 26-year-old was a key player for the club's Sky Bet Championship play-off push and is highly regarded by Leeds supporters.
Bartley could be the key for Boro next season
The centre-back is a similar style to Boro's Daniel Ayala. Bartley likes possession based football, but at 6' 4" in stature, he is a physical hard working defender. With the expected departure of Ben Gibson this summer, Kyle Bartley would be the perfect replacement. Having worked under Monk twice before, it wouldn't take long for Bartley to settle into the Boro side.