Prem newboys Middlesbrough to add Croatian steel in defence?

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Middlesbrough narrowly missed out on the signing of Benfica centre-back Viktor Lindelof in January, but Aitor Karanka is rumoured to have identified a new target for the Boro backline in the form of experienced Croatian international Domagoj Vida.

The 27-year-old has spent the last three seasons with Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv, winning two Ukrainian Premier League titles in the process. However, despite impressive performances for club and country, the man from Osijek has struggled to establish himself as a consistent starter for the capital club.

Still, the defender’s imposing stature, versatility – he’s equally comfortable at centre-back and right-back – and threat from set-pieces, have apparently impressed the Boro boss. And despite conceding a late penalty against Czech Republic for Croatia on Friday night, he’s impressed overall for Vatreni in France.

Those displays mean that plenty of clubs could be happy to offer the Kiev man more regular action than he’s received at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium. And the Teessiders can also now offer the player Premier League football – a tempting offer for a man currently plying his trade outside of Europe’s so-called ‘big leagues’.

If Karanka is to swoop for the former Bayer Leverkusen man, then now would be the time – before his powerful displays for Croatia catch the eye of rival managers and inflate the player’s price tag, currently valued at a fairly modest £5.63m by Transfermarkt.co.uk.

Croatia are next in action against Spain tomorrow night, with 38/10 for Vatreni to win and top Group D, while a Spanish victory is 21/20 and the draw on at 21/10.

Vida is 14/1 to score anytime, though Karanka may be hoping the defender’s goalscoring ability deserts him here. After all, a goal against the current European Champions could see that £5.63m figure rise rather suddenly.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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