Middlesbrough must win race for Joe Bryan

According to Bristol Live, Middlesbrough have had a £5m bid accepted by Bristol City for defender Joe Bryan as they look to seal the move ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

What’s the story?

Bristol City were always going to find it tough to keep hold of Bryan beyond the end of this summer’s transfer window, and it appears that the defender is on the verge of moving on.

Indeed, according to Bristol Live, Boro have had a £5m accepted by Bristol City for the defender, although the same report claims that Aston Villa are in the same situation.

There were now seemingly be a battle for Bryan’s signature in the final days of the transfer window, and Boro boss Tony Pulis will be desperate to seal the deal.

The 24-year-old scored seven times in 48 appearances for Bristol City in all competitions last term – including a goal against Manchester United in the EFL Cup.

He also featured in Bristol City’s opening-day draw against Nottingham Forest, but appears to have played his last game for the Robins.

Why is it important for Boro to sign Bryan?

Bryan looked at home against Man United in the EFL Cup last season, and managed five Championship goals during a very impressive 2017-18 campaign.

Aden Flint and Paddy McNair have both arrived to boost Boro’s defence for the 2018-19 campaign, and the former played in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Millwall.

George Friend started at left-back for Pulis’ team against Neil Harris’ side, but Fabio’s summer exit has left the club short when it comes to options in that area of the field.

The fact that Bryan can play left midfield, meanwhile, gives Boro another option.

Villa will also be desperate to seal the attacking full-back’s signature ahead of Thursday’s deadline, and it is vital that Boro do not lose out in the race for the 5ft 7in ace.