Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick has said the reported interest in defender Paddy McNair isn’t a cause for concern.
28-year-old McNair has been with Middlesbrough since 2018, signing from north east rivals Sunderland.
He’s played 194 times for Boro across all competitions but with his deal up next summer and rumours circulating over Premier League interest, the versatile star could be on the move this summer.
Most recently, it was claimed that Serie B side Como 1907 had emerged as admirers of McNair.
Now, Boro boss Carrick has had his say on the rumoured interest ahead of the new season.
As quoted by The Northern Echo, Carrick stated that the speculation isn’t a concern to him. He acknowledge these rumours are a part of the game at this time of year and insisted the full focus is on the start of the new campaign. He said:
“It’s similar to Chuba [Akpom] really, he’s our player and it’s great to have him.
“It’s that time of year isn’t it when there are contract situations knocking about, it’s the transfer window, and so names are getting thrown around here there and everywhere. I understand that, it is what it is. But until there is anything really going on, it doesn’t concern me.
“It’s eyes on the team, who’s fit, who’s training well – all the boys are training well – and looking forward to the start of the season. At the moment, that’s fine and no drama.”
Time will tell
It remains to be seen whether or not McNair is still a Middlesbrough player come the end of the transfer window but Carrick’s words certainly don’t rule out interest in his services, nor do they rule out a potential exit.
It would be a surprise to see him move to the Italian second-tier but it’s understandable why he’s a target. McNair is vastly experienced on these shores and at international level with Northern Ireland. His versatility would make him a valuable player just about anywhere too.
You get the feeling his time with Middlesbrough is coming to an end though. His deal is up next summer and a sale before September 1st would allow Boro get some money back on McNair, rather than risking losing him for nothing on a pre-contract in January or as a free agent later on in 2024.