Middlesbrough are busily preparing themselves for a return to Premier League football, and reports this week suggest the Teessiders see Victor Valdes and Robin van Persie as two potential targets.
Goalkeeper Valdes is a free agent after a spell with Manchester United, and it’s reported that Boro’s bigwigs have held talks in Barcelona with the former Spanish international.
He would bring in much-needed experience and quality, with doubts circling over current stopper Dimitri Konstantopoulos, who has never played Premier League football.
A slightly more surprising story is the talk of Van Persie heading to the Riverside.
It’s been widely acknowledged that the former Man United and Arsenal striker – a two-time Premier League golden boot winner – is looking to leave current employers Fenerbahce, with a return to England the Dutchman’s preferred destination.
A problem for Middlesbrough however, is that Van Persie is believed to be hankering for a return to London, with West Ham, Crystal Palace and even a return to Arsenal has been mooted in recent weeks.
But there’s certainly little lacking in Boro’s ambition, and they’ve lured big-names to the Riverside before, notably Gaizka Mendieta, Alen Boksic and of course, Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli among others.
Aitor Karanka’s men are 5/4 to suffer an immediate return to the Championship next season, but the club are rapidly trying to lengthen those odds with signings of Valdes and Van Persie’s calibre.
Should they land one or both targets, you can quickly bank on Boro becoming a mid-table outfit rather than relegation fodder.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.