Middlesbrough are set to offer veteran central defender James Collins a lifeline. According to The Mirror, Tony Pulis will look to sign his fellow Welshman, following his release after his 10-year affiliation with West Ham United.

James Collins was reportedly released from the Hammers via email, and Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis was one of the first people to contact the defender.

Boro will be looking to bolster their options going into next season. They will be looking to bounce back from the Play Off semi-final defeat to Collins’ former club Aston Villa.

Other sides are also interested in securing the services of the free agent. Rangers are looking to add an experienced head to their ranks, and Collins could fill this void. The Scottish Sun has reported that new boss Steven Gerrard is keen to bring Collins to his new club too.

In an interview with West Ham’s official website, owners David Sullivan and David Gold justified their reasoning for allowing Collins to leave the club. Stating that the new manager was a key factor.

“We appreciate just how popular James is among supporters but with the appointment of a new manager, we felt together the time was right to go our separate ways.”

James Collins played 16 times for the Hammers last season, but with new manager Manuel Pellegrini coming in, he wants a fresh and rejuvenated squad to challenge the top half of the table.

With Middlesbrough being linked to the former-West Ham man, it could be likely that Boro-born centre-back Ben Gibson could be on his way out of the club. A number of sides have been looking at Gibson, but Southampton looks the most likely destination.

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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook

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