Middlesbrough linked with Algeria defender Mandi

Reports in France have linked the versatile Stade Reims defender with a move to newly-promoted Boro

Middlesbrough linked with Algeria defender Mandi
Mandi celebrates a World Cup victory with Algeria | Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty/FIFA

Recently-promoted Middlesbrough are interested in a move for Stade Reims defender Aïssa Mandi, according to French sports paper L'Équipe.

Mandi, a 24-year-old defender who plays primarily as a right-back but can also play in the centre of defence, was relegated with Reims this season but it is reported that a number of top Ligue Un clubs are interested in his signature.

L'Équipe claim that Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne are among the interested parties but say that Boro "would like to move quickly" on the move ahead of a busy summer of recruitment.

Mandi, Kalas both linked with Boro moves

Aitor Karanka is unlikely to make too many changes to a defence which had the best record in England last season, but with the departure of loan star Tomáš Kalas back to parent club Chelsea, reinforcements will be needed.

Kalas would consider a permanent move to Middlesbrough | Photo: TeamTalk
Kalas would consider a permanent move to Middlesbrough | Photo: TeamTalk

Kalas has been linked with a permanent move back to Teesside this summer after spending the last season and a half at the club, with both he and Mandi offering vital versatility at the back.

Mandi has been with Reims since the beginning of his youth career in the year 2000, making his debut in 2009 and going on to make over 150 league appearances for the club, scoring 14 goals.

However, he is also an 18-cap international for Algeria and performed well during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, so he may seek an immediate return to top-flight football.

Mandi offers more powerful alternative to Nsue

With Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson forming a fearsome partnership for Middlesbrough at the heart of defence, Mandi may well be targeted as competition for current first-choice right-back Emilio Nsue if the rumours are revealed to be true.

Nsue was one of the season's stand-out performers in an attacking full-back role, but with Mandi standing several inches taller than the former Mallorca man, Karanka may prefer a more robust presence in the Premier League.

Ahead of their first campaign in the top flight since relegation to the Championship in 2008-09, Middlesbrough will hope to complete their transfer business early to give themselves the strongest possible chance of survival.