Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has suggested that he expects defender Anfernee Dijksteel to attract plenty of potential interest next summer after his promising start to the campaign.
Dijksteel has started all of Boro’s opening Championship matches of the campaign and has played an integral part in helping Warnock establish his side as the most difficult to break down in the league. The 24-year-old has managed to help Middlesbrough record an impressive six clean sheets already this term (Sofascore).
Boro managed to tie the defender down to a new long-term contract in the last week, with the 24-year-old signing a new deal which keeps him at the Riverside until 2025. That was just reward for the progress made by the defender since Warnock took over as manager towards the back end of last season.
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Speaking to the Northern Echo, Warnock suggested that Dijksteel could be one player that will attract the attentions of a number of clubs in the summer, if he can continue to perform at his current level and continue his rapid development.
He said: “If he can continue in the same form and the way he’s playing, with the presence that he has, then come the end of the season, I’d imagine there’ll be a quite a few clubs looking at him,” said Warnock, ahead of today’s game with Norwich City.
“Dijjksteel has improved really well and gets better by the game. It’ll be interesting to see whether he can continue that, but there’s no reason why he can’t. We’ve just got to hope that he does.”
Dijksteel has been one of the highlights of the season so far for Boro, with the defender having endured a difficult start to his career at Middlesbrough last season which saw him only manage to make 17 league appearances in which he could help his side record one clean sheet (Sofascore).
However, Warnock has helped to transform his game both defensively, with the defender averaging 1.6 tackles, 2.5 clearances and 2.2 interceptions per game so far for Boro in the Championship (Sofascore). That has seen him emerge as one of the best performing defenders in the division.
Given his progression and the fact that he is still only 24-years-old Warnock is probably right to suggest Boro could struggle to keep hold of him if they miss out on promotion especially. However, the new contract he has signed recently does at least put them in a strong position over his potential long-term future.