Neil Warnock has revealed that strengthening the engine room of his Middlesbrough team is at the top of his agenda in the January transfer window.
Warnock is working with a pretty small squad at the Riverside Stadium, and has only Sam Morsy, Jonny Howson, George Saville and Lewis Wing to use when all are fully fit.
He’s not doing too badly with the players at his disposal, with Boro currently sitting 8th in the Championship, but there’s always room to improve.
There isn’t much money floating about in the second tier of English football right now as clubs are feeling the pinch due to COVID-19, so Warnock is set to target players that are out of contract in the summer.
Players who have expiring contracts are more likely to be able to move for a cut-price fee, so Warnock is set to take a risk and test the resolve of certain clubs, and he’s hinted that he may bring two midfielders in and not just one.
So lets take a look at three men who could be targeted by Warnock for a mid-season move to Teesside.
The Barnsley captain is still yet to hit his prime at the age of 25, but is supremely talented as both a playmaker and a goalscorer from range.
The Tykes were confident of tying up a new deal for the former Leeds man last month, but nothing has happened as of yet and the longer it goes without any news, the more you feel as though Mowatt is considering his options.
There’s no doubt that Boro are a bigger club than Barnsley and the wages on offer will be much more, and he could be the kind of player that Warnock is missing to play alongside Morsy.
Browne has been at Preston North End since 2014, having joined for just £10,000 from Cork City as a teenager.
He’s improved year-on-year, turning into a highly versatile midfielder who can fill in at right back, and the 2018-19 Championship season saw him score 12 times.
He had a quieter campaign last year with just four goals, but the Republic of Ireland international is on three for the current campaign but has yet to accept Preston’s contract offer on the table.
The 25-year-old has made no encouraging comments to suggest he will be staying, so with potentially better wages on the table, Boro could entice him to join.
One that may be even cheaper for Boro to get their hands on but a younger option than Mowatt or Browne is Motherwell midfielder Campbell, who has been offered a new deal by the Scottish club.
The 22-year-old is an ever-present for Stephen Robinson’s side and scored five times in the Scottish Premiership last season and is described as ‘tenacious’ by his club’s website.
Campbell retains a lot of potential and could be a project that Warnock can turn into a multi-million pound sale down the line.