Speaking to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock admitted it is unlikely the club will be able to sign Fulham winger Neeskens Kebano on a permanent deal.
Kebano joined Middlesbrough from Fulham in the January transfer window and has impressed in his short spell at the club.
Warnock previously stated that Boro would make a decision on the player in the summer, but it now looks unlikely they could afford to buy the winger outright.
With the Cottagers having secured promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs last season, Kebano was seen as surplus to requirements following the arrival of Red Bull Leipzig wide man Ademola Lookman.
However, with relegation looking a real possibility for Scott Parker’s side and Lookman re-joining his parent club in Germany, Kebano is likely to re-enter the first-team fold in the second tier.
Warnock claimed that a permanent deal to sign the Democratic Republic of Congo international was unlikely, but he didn’t rule out another loan move.
“Neeskens has got another year at Fulham, so I don’t think there’s much chance of anything happening there unless they want to loan him out again.
“I would imagine they’ll be looking at Neeskens and thinking, ‘Well, he’s got a year left, we might as well try and sell him if we’re not going to be using him rather than let his contract run out.’”
Similarly to Kebano, Yannick Bolasie will return to his parent club Everton when his loan expires, whereas Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Marvin Johnson are out of contract. Therefore in the summer Middlesbrough could be without four first-team wingers.
They will no doubt be looking in the market to sign replacements. In recent months, the Teessiders have been linked to the likes of Sheffield Wednesday’s Kadeem Harris who is set to become a free agent in June. Harris played under Warnock during their time together at Cardiff City and a reunion could materialise between the two former Bluebirds.