TEAMtalk has learned from sources that Middlesbrough already know that without promotion they will find it hard to hold on to loan sensation Sam Greenwood beyond this season.
The 21-year-old moved to Teesside on transfer deadline day after Leeds boss Daniel Farke decided the former Arsenal youngster was surplus to requirements. And even though Greenwood had clocked up 25 appearances for the Whites during their time in the Premier League, the England U21 star was told clearly that his game-time would be limited it he hung around at Elland Road.
However, the move to the Riverside has worked out beautifully for Greenwood, who has been the star man for Boro with four goals and two assists from 13 appearances so far.
As part of that season-loan deal with Middlesbrough, Michael Carrick’s side were able to seal an option to make the deal permanent for just £1.5m.
However, as with any such deal, a move is fully dependent on the player agreeing to the move.
Greenwood’s form has seen him become an integral part of Carrick’s side, with his sublime free-kick goal against Leicester recently among his strikes to catch the eye.
But the form of the player, who is a rare breed in that he is bipedal, has also seen a number of other sides pay close attention.
And we understand that West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Fulham, Leicester and Southampton have all been keeping tabs on Greenwood’s progress in the North-East.
Farke happy to see Sam Greenwood thrive at Middlesbrough
Should Boro earn promotion, however, then a permanent stay at the Riverside could well become a very serious option for the 21-year-old.
Unfortunately for Boro, they will be without their star man on Saturday when they make the short journey south to face the player’s parent club Leeds, with the terms of the loan deal preventing him from featuring.
Whites boss Farke admits he is pleased to see the player performing well, and has explained the circumstances behind his departure.
“We are happy that he’s progressing in the right way because in general, not just about Sam, when you loan a player out you have two targets: either that he comes back in a good rhythm after a good loan with good performances and good confidence to improve your squad or to increase his value out of a business aspect,” said Farke.
“I think it was definitely the right decision to send Sam out because he’s a young player full of potential and has many good skills, for example set pieces and free kicks – he’s one of the best free kick takers I’ve ever worked with and I’ve worked with some good players like James Maddison.
“But it’s not like in American football where you have a specialist squad and just in case you can send one player in – if it would be allowed I would have definitely kept Sam Greenwood because he would be second to none.”
Star was pushed down the pecking order at Leeds
Farke acknowledges that strong competition for places at Elland Road would have made Greenwood would likely have been left frustrated this season.
As a result, he’s pleased to witness his progress up the A1 and A19 with Boro.
Farke added: “If you want to improve and create a value you have to make sure you play day in, day out as a young player and also 90 minutes. And let’s be honest, the situation for him was a little bit unlucky due to a mid-term injury in pre-season and in his positions we’ve got [Crysencio] Summerville, [Daniel] James, [Wilfried] Gnonto, [Jaiden] Anthony, [Joel] Piroe, [Georgino] Rutter, [Patrick] Bamford – it would be difficult for him to get this game time.
“He needed five or six games [with Middlesbrough] to get into his rhythm but I think he’s had eight starts in this campaign so I think he’s on the right way to earn his spot in a really good possession side.
“I’m delighted for him because he’s a really good player. There are no regrets, it’s very beneficial. You want that a player does well and he’ll have a chance to look back at the end of the season on a really good loan.”
Greenwood’s contract with Leeds keeps him at Elland Road until summer 2026.