Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has revealed that Boro have not had any fresh interest in defender Dael Fry this month and that they would not sell during this window, but he warned the 23-year-old will be on the radar of top Premier League clubs.
Fry was the subject of intense speculation around his potential future in the summer, with the 23-year-old having attracted the attentions of Premier League Burnley. They had an offer of around £10 million turned down by Middlesbrough for the defender. Boro remained firm in their stance over him and slapped a £25 million valuation on him to put off any further bids, per Northern Echo.
The defender has since gone onto have an impressive first half of the campaign in the Championship, managing to help Warnock’s side record eight clean sheets in his 23 appearances. Fry’s underlying numbers have been very strong with him averaging 1.8 interceptions and 4.1 clearances per game so far this campaign (Sofascore).
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Speaking to the Northern Echo, Warnock revealed that he has not had any phone calls from potential suitors this month for the defender. However, he insisted that Steve Gibson would not cash in on the 23-year-old this month even if there were offers made. He did though warn that Boro face a difficult battle to keep hold of him in the long-term as more Premier League clubs circle.
He said: “If you’re one of the top clubs, he’s got to be on your list.
“For me, he has, but I’m glad I haven’t had any phone calls. To be honest, I don’t think Steve would sell him anyway.
“I think Steve’s happy with what we have, and every time we talk about people like Dael and Tav (Marcus Tavernier), he wants to keep them all. Certainly while I’m here, that’s what I hope he does.
“I just think Dael has grown up. When I came, I feel he was a bit immature, if I’m honest. But I think he’s a man now. I think Paddy has helped him in that. He’s our leader, really and we go off him.”
Fry has been an outstanding performer for Middlesbrough during the last three Championship seasons now, and the 23-year-old has continued to show his development throughout the campaign so far. The defender has upped his interceptions per game from last season from one to 1.8 and is now winning eight duels per game as opposed to 6.1 last term (Sofascore).
Warnock has been able to get the best out of him during his time at the Riverside and it was no surprise that Burnley were interested in taking him in the summer. Middlesbrough showed then that they would not sell the defender on the cheap, and the 23-year-old’s value will only have increased over the last few months.
Middlesbrough have made a lot of improvements under Warnock and they will only continue that if they keep hold of the likes of Fry. It is encouraging that Boro would not sell the defender at this stage even if there were late offers for him this month, but it will be interesting to see whether their resolve is tested once more next summer.