Middlesbrough are said to be one of a number of clubs that are interested in signing Sunderland centre back Tom Flanagan, as per a recent report by Football Insider.
Also a target for Bristol City and Preston North End, the centre back has gradually established himself as a regular under Lee Johnson’s guidance at the Stadium of Light and would certainly be a big loss for the Black Cats if he moved on.
After appointing Chris Wilder as their new manager following the departure of Neil Warnock, it appears that Boro are already putting their transfer plans in place ahead of what could be a crucial January window.
Flanagan is due to be out of contract at Sunderland come the summer of next year, which means he is understandably an attractive low cost option for Middlesbrough to pursue.
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Add to the fact that he is very comfortable in possession of the ball at his feet and it is easy to see how he would fit under Wilder in what is likely to be a three back formation at the Riverside Stadium.
The Northern Ireland international is also well into his prime years at the age of 30 and would pass on good experience to the likes of Dael Fry at the back, who has improved after playing alongside another seasoned player in Sol Bamba this season.
Flanagan also has past experience of operating as a full back, which means that he should be adept at playing on the left or the right of a back three, with Wilder liking his outer defenders to overlap or underlap when the opportunity presents itself.
After playing the majority of his career in the lower leagues, the defender is ready to step up to the second tier, with Middlesbrough potentially offering him the perfect environment to progress his career to the next level.