We brought you the exclusive today that Leicester City and Southampton are interested in a move for Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence.
The 21-year-old right sider has caught the eye regularly in the last two and a bit seasons as a key first team player at the Riverside, and appears to be getting recognised for those performances in the closing exchanges of the transfer window.
Spence was a huge success story in an otherwise troubling 2019/20 campaign, to which Boro flirted with the relegation zone largely under the leadership of Jonathan Woodgate.
He has come on further since that season and in Neil Warnock’s reign, now utilised more often as a right midfielder than a right back, with his dribbling and athleticism, Spence is a very effective player at Championship level.
One that may require a significant fee to capture the services of, with Boro desperate to make an assault on the top six this season, Spence will not come cheap.
Here, then, we take a look at two potential knock-on effects at Middlesbrough if Spence departs before the 31st August transfer deadline…
Fast-track Martin Payero
Spence’s loss would leave a hole on the right side of midfield for Boro, Duncan Watmore would be the obvious man to step into his shoes but he has struggled for fitness of late, it could be Payero.
Neil Warnock has his concerns over the adjustment period for Payero moving from Argentinian football to the Championship aged just 22, but a role out wide could help him ease into the frantic division.
Payero has played as a winger before in his career and it is typically a far less physical position than in central midfield. After all Middlesbrough spent over £6 million to acquire his services, according to Transfermarkt, the board will be wanting something to show for that this season.
Opportunity for Toyosi Olusanya
Warnock likes the cut of Olusanya’s jib, plucking him from relative obscurity in the form of Billericay Town.
Olusanya has more experience in the English game than Payero, having previously played in the Football League with AFC Wimbledon.
The 23-year-old knew Isaiah Jones before joining, suggesting his settling in period at the club may be a little smoother and he is a specialist right winger.
Formation dependent, in the absence of Watmore, Olusanya may be the most logical replacement for Djed Spence.