Tomas Kalas has admitted he would have to think seriously about a permanent switch to Middlesbrough if he was offered the chance to play for the club in the Premier League.
The 23-year-old Czech Republic international has spent the last 16 months on loan at the Riverside Stadium from Chelsea, where he signed a new three-year deal last summer.
However, the defender has made only two starts for the Blues since arriving from Sigma Olomouc in January 2011, compared with the 47 appearances he has made for Boro.
Kalas told the Evening Gazette: “I don’t know how many games I’ve played since I came – probably around 40, which is not bad in one and a half years.
“That’s why I came here, to play games and hopefully I’ll keep playing next season – maybe here.
“If I could get the deal [to move to Boro permanently], I would really think about it. Yes, why not?”
Head coach Aitor Karanka and chairman Steve Gibson are already planning for life in the top flight following a seven-year absence after the club finally secured its return by finishing as runners-up to Sky Bet Championship winners Burnley.