Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk is ‘hopeful’ of getting a deal done for Chelsea youngster Lewis Baker, thus dealing a significant blow to Championship duo Birmingham City and Reading, reports The Northern Echo.
The 22-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge in 2005 at the age of nine before earning his senior debut for the Blues nine years later, when he came on as a substitute in their 2-0 win over Derby County in the third round of the FA Cup.
However, like so many youngsters on the books at the West London club, Baker has struggled to get near the first team and hasn’t added to that solitary appearance – instead he has enjoyed loan spells Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons, and most recently Vitesse, the latter where he scored 20 goals and laid on 11 assists in 73 games.
And it appears that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will send the England Under-21 international out on loan once again, and reports earlier this week linked him with a move to Monk’s Middlesbrough, Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham, and Jaap Stam’s Reading.
And Boro chief Monk has recently confirmed his interest in the 22-year-old, saying: ‘He is one we are obviously targeting and hoping over the next couple of days it will be resolved.
‘Whichever way it goes it will be resolved. We are hopeful.’
And these comments are sure to come as a blow to Redknapp and Stam, both of whom would have been looking at the talented Englishman as a way of bolstering their attacking ranks ahead of the rest of the season.
Yet it appears that Middlesbrough are in prime position to land the 22-year-old midfield sensation on loan for the season.
The Verdict: Birmingham and Reading both lost on the opening weekend of the Championship season, and failed to net between them in their clashes against Ipswich and QPR respectively.
So reports of interest in Chelsea youngster Lewis Baker would have seriously intrigued supporters of both clubs, as there’s little doubting the talent and indeed potential that the 22-year-old possesses after a fine two-year spell in the Eredivisie with Vitesse.
Yet it seems that Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough are ‘hopeful’ of luring him to the North East to join a side that has spent over £35 million on players this summer, and thus have given themselves a great opportunity to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Thus, it appears that Birmingham and Reading will have to look elsewhere to strengthen their ranks.
Birmingham, Middlesbrough, and Reading fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!