Middlesbrough are expected to part company with Djed Spence this summer, with manager Chris Wilder having his say on the outgoing defender in an interview with The Northern Echo.
Middlesbrough loaned Spence to fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest last season, with the right-back impressing in their promotion-securing campaign.
With Spence surplus to requirements Boro are expected to cash in, with the Teessiders demanding a £15 million fee.
Tottenham Hotspur are is pole position to sign the 21-year-old, but the two clubs remain £5 million apart in their valuations.
Despite this, Wilder has stated that he expects Spence to join the North London side. But he says if a deal can’t be finalised before the deadline he will remain at Middlesbrough.
“If nothing happens with Djed, then he’s our player and he’ll be back for pre-season,” said the Boro boss.
“If the deal doesn’t get done, we’ll see where we go from there. Have I got an input into it? Yeah, 100 per cent. The boy obviously doesn’t want to come back here, which I’ve got absolutely no issue with. He obviously sees his future away from here, and he had a brilliant season last season.
“We’re expecting that deal to happen, but if it doesn’t, then he’s our player. From a club point of view, the deal has to be right.”
Spurs don’t want to be priced out of a deal, but reports have suggested they are considering other targets should the Spence deal go south.
Who do Middlesbrough have at right-back if Spence leaves?
The emergence of Isaiah Jones at right wing-back was a revelation last season. The youngster’s fine form meant Spence was allowed to depart.
Anfernee Dijksteel can also play at right wing-back, and Marcus Tavernier has filled in there on occasion.
But perhaps the best option to be back-up to Jones is the returning Darnell Fisher. The former Preston North End man missed the entirety of last season through injury but will return for the upcoming campaign and gives Boro another option in that position should Spence leave.