Premier League side Leeds United are interested in a January move for Middlesbrough midfielder Marcus Tavernier, as per TEAMtalk.
The 22-year-old has been a regular figure for the Teesside outfit this term in several different positions, making 15 league appearances under former boss Neil Warnock and being a shining light in a mixed season for the second-tier side.
He was already a semi-regular player for Boro before this season, making a real breakthrough during 2018/19 and being accustomed to the Championship already. With this, he already has an impressive 106 appearances to his name in the division, recording 11 goals and 11 assists in the process as one of the club’s most promising young stars alongside Djed Spence.
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His contract doesn’t run out for another 18 months after signing an extension at the start of last year, meaning Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds will need to launch a sizeable offer to persuade new manager Chris Wilder and Middlesbrough’s board to cash in on the 22-year-old.
This is the latest EFL player the Whites have been linked to in recent months, also reportedly pursuing the signatures of Huddersfield Town’s Lewis O’Brien, Reading’s John Swift and Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson as they look to strengthen their quality and depth at Elland Road.
However, they may face competition from other top-flight outfits including Burnley, with Sean Dyche’s side reported by the Daily Mail to have been interested in luring Tavernier to Turf Moor during the latter stages of the previous transfer window.
This isn’t the first time Leeds have been linked with the former England youth international though, previously taking an interest in his services along with Everton, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in January this year.
Middlesbrough have a real opportunity under Wilder to build for the future. Not only do they have another previous promotion-winning manager at the helm, but they also have players who are young enough to remain at the club for the long term and could thrive in the Premier League at the Riverside Stadium.
Nottingham Forest loanee Spence is one name that has already been mentioned along with Tavernier – but centre-back Dael Fry also deserves a mention after being monitored by West Ham United.
With the trio and their recruitment drive in the summer, Warnock and the Boro board have set the club up well for the future under new management and this is why they should be looking to retain him beyond January.
For Leeds, he’s another EFL gem that will be desperate to prove himself in one of the best leagues in the world and with that, there would be no shortage of motivation for him to do well.
Like O’Brien, he’s another player that Bielsa would have to ease in gently and utilise as a squad player before making him one of the first names on the teamsheet.
But again, he’s another young player that the West Yorkshire outfit are targeting and that can only be a good sign.
The EFL quartet they are reported to be targeting aren’t exactly proven in the Premier League yet – but they certainly have the potential to ply their trade there in the future and this will help them to establish their top-flight status for the long term.