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Middlesbrough and Aston Villa set to battle it out over £5 million striker

According to The Sunday Mirror (pg. 67, Sunday 6th Jan), Middlesbrough and Aston Villa are both interested in signing CSKA Sofia striker Kiril Despodov, who is valued at £5 million.

With Aston Villa set to lose Tammy Abraham, and Middlesbrough having already loaned out Martin Braithwaite to Leganes, both clubs are interested in bolstering their striking options. The Championship sides face competition from the Premier League however, with Cardiff City also keen on Despodov.

The 22-year old striker is a five-time Bulgaria international, scoring one goal for his national side, and he is enjoying the best spell of his career so far this season, having scored ten goals in 22 games in all competitions, including two goals in five games in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

The forward can also operate as a winger, and could be a good utility player for all clubs interested. Middlesbrough are actively looking for wide-men as they are relatively short on numbers in that area. They have already signed Rajiv van La Parra from Huddersfield Town on loan, but are still looking for more wingers this transfer window according to manager Tony Pulis.

Despodov joined CSKA Sofia from Bulgarian second division side PFC Litex Lovech on a free transfer in 2016, and if his current club do get a bid worth somewhere around their valuation of £5 million, they will be set to make a good profit on the player.

It has not yet been reported whether the deal will be a loan deal or a permanent switch however, but each side will be hoping to get the move tied up before the January 31st deadline.

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