Heerenveen defender is latest target for ambitious Middlesbrough

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Middlesbrough have already snapped up one man from the Eredivisie this summer, and if reports are to be believed, Aitor Karanka is heading back to the Netherlands for Heerenveen’s highly-rated defender Kenny Otigba.

Boro are believed to be in a three-way fight with Derby and Turkish side Trabzonspor to land the 23-year-old’s signature.

Heerenveen have allegedly told Otigba he can leave this summer, following a change of head coach in the off-season.

Otigba was courted by Liverpool in 2012, and the tough-tackling centre-half is back on the radar of several British clubs after establishing himself in the Heerenveen’s first-team.

The Nigerian-born defender has also broken through into the Hungarian U19 and U21 sides, but has made clear of his intention to play for his country of birth at senior level if selected.

Boro have made a series of impressive signings this summer, including Marten de Roon from Atalanta, Viktor Fischer from Ajax, Bernardo Espinosa from Sporting Gijon plus former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer.

The Reds are also hoping to land Alvaro Negredo on loan from Valencia, and though they face a fight from a host of Europe’s biggest clubs, the scale of their ambition must be lauded.

At 6ft 2in, Otigba could be the man Karanka is seeking to add more competition to last season’s preferred centre-half pairing of Ben Gibson and Daniel Ayala, with Espinosa also an accomplished defender.

But Otigba can also play at right back, potentially offering a valuable piece of versatility when the knitty-gritty of the Premier League kicks in.

And with transfermarkt.co.uk valuing the defender at £850, Karanka wouldn’t need to break the bank.

Boro will kick-off their Premier League return at home to Stoke next month, and it’s 13/10 the Riverside witnesses a happy homecoming.

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

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