Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka won’t have it all his own way if he wishes to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic.
Hamburg are also believed to be very keen on landing the BvB centre-half, who is reportedly available for around £5m.
That would be a blow to ‘Boro, who were about to sign the Serbian in the summer only for an injury to derail the move at the last moment.
Subotic has since recovered however, and has played for Dortmund’s second team this season.
But any hopes of landing a spot in the senior squad look all but over.
Karanka is known to be a fan of the 28-year-old, and could use some mid-season reinforcements.
Boro have struggled to move away from the periphery of the relegation zone, and have won only two of their last 10 games.
Of even greater concern though, is the fact that those two wins came against struggling Hull and Swansea.
With the other two of their four wins coming over Bournemouth and Sunderland, there’s plenty of work to be done on Teesside.
Karanka has already been busy in the mid-season window, splashing out £6m on Rudy Gestede from Aston Villa.
But while he’s added physical presence upfront, the addition of 6ft 3in Subotic would be welcomed at the back.
For now Boro will focus on Emirates FA Cup duty, where they take on Sheffield Wednesday this Sunday.
With the Owls going well in the Championship, Karanka could have a fight on his hands to avoid an upset.
But at 17/20, the bookies make Boro odds-on to come through unscathed. Failure to do so however would only heighten their need for an improved defence.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing