EXCLUSIVE: Middlesbrough in talks to sign Leicester centre-back

Middlesbrough are hopeful of sealing a deal for Leicester defender Filip Benkovic and are in talks with the Premier League outfit about a loan deal, we can reveal.

Boro are desperate for reinforcements in defence with long-term injuries besetting Daniel Ayala, George Friend and Ryan Shotton.

Midfielders Jonny Howson and Paddy McNair have dropped back to fill gaps but Jonathan Woodgate wants to add to his options.

Benkovic, who spent last season on-loan at Scottish champions Celtic and who have been linked with him again, has emerged as one of his top targets.

Boro have enquired about a host of defenders this month including James Chester, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jack Simpson and former star Ben Gibson – but it is a move for Benkovic which is most likely at this stage, although Woodgate would happily take two if the opportunity arises.

Meanwhile, in another exclusive, Boro ace Marcus Tavernier is set to sign a new long-term deal with the club.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has come through the ranks of Boro’s famed academy, but he had just 18 months left on his current deal.

Tavernier was the subject of a number of bids from Barnsley in the summer, and has been tracked by a number of Premier League clubs since making his breakthrough under Tony Pulis.

Tavernier has now become an integral part of Jonathan Woodgate’s side in recent weeks and it is understood the England youth international will put pen-to-paper this week. Read more…