Middlesbrough have reportedly beaten Derby County and Stoke City in the race to sign 22-year-old St. Etienne centre-back Harold Moukoudi, with a medical scheduled today, according to Football Insider.
Jonathan Woodgate has been eager to add defensive reinforcements to his side this season after a string of lengthy injury lay-offs to key players have forced him into fielding a very-much shuffled around defensive line.
Middlesbrough have been operating mostly in a three-at-the-back formation this season and haven’t been able to call upon three fit natural centre-backs for the vast majority of the season, with Jonny Howson coming in at the right side of the defensive trio in recent weeks.
With the transfer deadline looming, Woodgate has moved to secure a centre-back as the Teessiders edge ever closer to a deal for St Etienne centre-back Harold Moukoudi, according to Football Insider.
The Cameroon international hasn’t been a regular feature in the French Ligue 1 this season, thanks to the solid form of Loic Perrin, William Saliba among others.
Moukoudi has made just 11 league appearances this season and will be sent on loan to the Riverside for the rest of the season with the view to develop him in the English league before returning, with Saliba’s loan finishing and seeing him move back to Arsenal.
The report indicates that the 6ft3in defender had offers rejected from Derby County and Stoke City before the Boro offer was accepted, and he is now set to undergo a medical ahead of his deadline day move.
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Woodgate has been crying out for more depth at the back, as even with a fully fit squad he doesn’t really have enough cover to withstand the hectic Championship schedule.
His cause was not helped by the frustrating injury to Dani Ayala, which looks set to keep him out for at least a month on Teesside.
Moukoudi will really benefit from this move to get some much-needed first-team experience and he will be guaranteed that with Boro’s current struggles at the back.
Woodgate seems to have finally got his man and this is the main piece of business that the club needed to do today, with potential for an attacking midfielder too, after Patrick Roberts’ setback.