Middlesbrough fail in swoop for Chelsea star, but sign youngster on loan

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is already making the most of his connections with Jose Mourinho with an attempt to sign Michael Essien

Middlesbrough's form has picked up since the appointment of former Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka. They secured great wins over Reading and Burnley in the festive period and now sit just six points off the play-off places.

Karanka is great friends with Jose Mourinho having worked together whilst at Real Madrid, and he is already taking advantage of his connections with Chelsea. Mourinho has a huge squad of players to work with at Stamford Bridge and they already have a vast number of players out on loan, 22 in fact. But there are still a few players who Mourinho is open to letting them leave on loan.

Karanka has today managed to sign Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo on loan. The 20-year-old centre back arrives until the end of the season and will be a valuable addition. Omeruo played for ADO Den Haag for 18 months in the Eredivisie and caught the attention of the national team. He was a big part of the Nigerian team that won the 2013 African Cup of Nations, and is hoping to play a part in the World Cup this summer.

Omeruo joined Chelsea in January 2012 from Standard Liege and is rated highly by the club, but Mourinho knows he is in safe hands at 'Boro. Omeruo said, as quoted by BBC Sport: 'Training with the first team at Chelsea is just not good enough for my progress and development, more significantly I was highly recommended [to Boro] by Jose Mourinho and that feels good.'

Whilst securing the signing of Omeruo, Karanka said he tried to bring in another Chelsea player currently finding himself out of favour. 'I said to Jose Mourinho, 'listen, can I take Michael Essien' - maybe not, but me and the club are working to take players.' Essien certainly would have been an excellent signing for the Championship club.

Whilst Essien may look unlikely, Middlesbrough fans will be excited between the connection between the two clubs and will be expecting more Chelsea players to arrive during the transfer window.

image: © Paul Hudson

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