Sources close to the player have confirmed to HITC Sport that the Baggies came in for the former Wolves and Doncaster man last week, but talk of a £4million bid was quickly rebuffed by Boro.
Friend, a popular figure at the Riverside Stadium, has three-years left on his current deal and is understood to be very settled in the North East - but any move to the top-flight would be hard to resist.
Premier League new boys Watford are also understood to be keen on landing the 27-year-old, has played over 100 league games for Boro since joining from Doncaster in 2012.
Boro are yet to make a splash themselves in the transfer market this summer, but their biggest task could be keeping hold of the likes of George Friend, Ben Gibson and Albert Adomah - who have all attractd interest from Premier League clubs in recent months.
Boro have told West Brom that Friend is not for sale but it remains to be seen if they return.