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Middlesbrough handed boost in pursuit of Aston Villa defender

According to The Hartlepool Mail, Aston Villa defender Frederic Guilbert is set to leave the club in the summer, with Middlesbrough linked.

Although manager Neil Warnock has confirmed the priority is a new striker, Middlesbrough are also keen to strengthen at the back in the summer. At present they only have Dael Fry and Grant Hall as natural centre-backs, however, full-backs Anfernee Dijksteel and Marc Bola have been utilised there, as has midfielder Paddy McNair.

The Boro boss will ideally be looking for a defender capable of slotting into the back line and have identified Aston Villa Frederic Guilbert as a potential target.

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The French under-21 international is primarily a right-back and would be in direct competition with Dijksteel, Darnell Fisher and Djed Spence, although he can play at centre-back and would likely play there where their options are far more limited.

Guilbert is currently out on loan at French Ligue 1 side RC Strasbourg where he has featured four times since arriving in January. However, his contract at parent club Aston Villa is due to come to an end in June this year.

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Villains manager Dean Smith is now opting to keep Ahmed Elmohamady instead of the Frenchman and so he would then be free to join a club of his choosing and Middlesbrough could certainly be a viable option for the 26-year old.

Boro would welcome a player of Guilbert’s experience at the club. Having played in the top flight in France for a number of years, as well as in the Premier League, he could be a vital piece of the Teessiders squad going forwards if he was to sign.

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