According to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough are in the market to sign a central defender and previously-linked Leicester centre-back Filip Benkovic is now ‘available for loan’.

Middlesbrough’s squad is rather threadbare at present, especially at the back. At the start of the season Middlesbrough played their new central-defender Grant Hall alongside right-back Anfernee Dijksteel and central-midfielder Paddy McNair in a back three.

Hall soon picked up an injury meaning Dael Fry had to be rushed back from injury to play his part sooner than anticipated.

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It would make sense for Middlesbrough to delve into the loan market this transfer window and sign a new centre-back. This would allow for McNair to be utilised in midfield and Dijksteel move into a more familiar full-back role.

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Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic, who Boro and Derby were linked with in January, is now available for loan according to the report, with Foxes’ boss Brendan Rodgers having told the Croatia international that he can leave the club on a temporary basis.

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The 23-year old enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bristol City last season, joining the club in January. He played 10 games for the Robins and scored two goals. However, it is not yet reported whether Lee Johnson is interested in bringing him back to Ashton Gate for this campaign.

Benkovic is yet to play in the Premier League for Leicester and is not part of Rodger’s plans. He finds himself down the pecking order behind the likes of Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Wes Morgan, Daniel Amartey and new signing Wesley Fofana.

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