Stoke City are considering a “formal approach” for Middlesbrough captain George Friend in the January transfer window, according to the Northern Echo.
The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, and while Boro are keen on keeping the fullback, the club’s financial situation means they may have to sell him if an offer is received.
Middlesbrough currently have seven senior players whose contracts expire in the summer, and Financial Fairplay restrictions mean they won’t be able to offer them all new deals.
Stoke could, therefore, exploit the situation with the Potters scouts believing that Friend could offer the team the experience and flexibility they need at the back.
New manager Michael O’Neill has not approved a bid yet, though, and Boro could still re-enter contract talks with Friend in order to keep him at the Riverside Stadium.
The left-back has hardly played this campaign after undergoing surgery on a damaged tendon, but he is reportedly back in full training.