Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough

Championship

Sources: Everton, Crystal Palace on alert for league’s best player as Middlesbrough ready Man City talks

Chuba Akpom targeted by Crystal Palace, Everton and Wolves

Middlesbrough are preparing to sell this summer in order to back Michael Carrick in the summer transfer market, sources have told TEAMtalk.

That means the club’s prized asset Chuba Akpom is the most likely departure given he also has just 12 months left on his current deal.

Akpom was voted the Championship Player of the Season following his standout campaign, which saw him break the 20-goal barrier. With 29 goals in all competitions, it was comfortably the best season of the 27-year-old’s career.

Crystal Palace are long-term admirers of Akpom, as TEAMtalk has already revealed. Meanwhile Everton, Wolves, Leicester and Brentford have checked on him as well.

Palace, for their part, are bracing themselves for the potential departure of Wilfried Zaha on a free transfer.

Elsewhere, Wolves have been the lowest-scoring side in the Premier League this season, while Brentford need to find cover for the banned Ivan Toney.

In terms of a transfer fee, Boro would be looking to get close to £20m for Akpom. It would give them a significant profit after buying him from Greek side PAOK for £2.75m back in 2020.

After Middlesbrough’s defeat to Coventry City in the Championship play-off semi-final, the only way for Akpom to play in the Premier League next season will be via a transfer to a new club.

Going into the final weekend of the season, Leicester are in the relegation zone, while Everton are looking over their shoulders. Crystal Palace, Wolves and Brentford have all confirmed top-flight safety for next season, though.

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Meanwhile, Boro are also set to lose loan stars Zack Steffen, Ryan Giles, Aaron Ramsey and Cameron Archer – although the club would ideally like to keep them all, in theory.

Extended loan deals for the Man City-owned goalkeeper Steffen and Aston Villa pair Archer and Ramsey are possible, but early decisions may not be likely.

Steffen played 42 matches in the regular Championship season for Boro before starting both of their play-off matches against Coventry. His contract back in Manchester still has another two years remaining.

However, it has been indicated that Man City are ready to sell him, subsequently sticking with Stefan Ortega as their main backup to Ederson.

Archer and Ramsey both arrived at the Riverside Stadium in January, developing throughout the final half of the Championship season. Attacker Archer is under contract with Villa until 2027.

Boro, though, are looking at the possibility of a permanent deal for Giles. Much will depend on Wolves’ asking price for the left-sider, but they are ready to let him leave Molineux.

Giles came through the ranks at Wolves – who as mentioned are one of Akpom’s suitors – but has only ever made one cup appearance for their senior team. Middlesbrough have been the seventh different club to have had him on loan, but they could become his buyers.

In time, Boro’s wider plans to strengthen Carrick’s squad should become clearer.