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Middlesbrough eye colossal centre-half as ideal Ben Gibson replacement

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Middlesbrough are one of three clubs interested in signing Lokomotiva Zagreb defender Denis Kolinger, according to a report by The Sun.

Kolinger is also a target for Championship outfit Reading and Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

The towering centre-back is interested in a move to England this summer, despite still having two years left to run on his contract, and he is reportedly available for a bargain £1m transfer fee.

The once-capped Croatia international stands well above 6ft tall and is renowned for his aerial presence.

Formerly of NK Zagreb, Kolinger made the switch across the Croatian capital back in summer 2016, signing a four-year deal.

The German-born defender is now a target for Middlesbrough, who have identified centre-half replacements for Ben Gibson should their prize asset leave for the Premier League this summer.

Gibson’s international ambitions are being held back by playing Championship football so he could seek an exit this summer, despite his strong links to the club.

Tony Pulis has identified Kolinger as an ideal replacement for Gibson and someone who can compete with Daniel Ayala, Ryan Shotton and Dael Fry at the back.

Reading also want the 24-year-old to help shore up their defence while Brighton are considering a move too to add strength in depth to their options ahead of their second season in the top flight.

The Verdict

Kolinger has the physical attributes to thrive in the Championship if he is able to quickly adapt to an English style of play.

Boro do need another man at the back if Gibson leaves and a dominant giant like Kolinger could be a shrewd move at just £1m.

Reading could really benefit from having a relatively young and highly-rated defender in their ranks too, especially if Liam Moore leaves.

Reading and Boro fans – Would you like to sign Kolinger? Let us know below…

NCTJ-qualified journalist - University of Birmingham undergraduate - King's College London postgraduate - Coventry City and West Ham United

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