Middlesbrough boss is hopeful on deals for Given and Downing

Aitor Karanka is pursuing Premier League quality players this summer from Aston Villa and West Ham.

Middlesbrough's manager Aitor Karanka has given an update on the club's drive for top quality talent ahead of the new season, in quotes published on the Gazette website from his press conference on Wednesday.

The Spaniard said that he was working on improving several positions in the team, going on to discuss Republic of Ireland and Newcastle United legend Shay Given, who spent time on loan at the Riverside last season.

Karanka seemed fairly confident on the 39-year-old goalkeeper signing up at the club, while stopping short of confirming the deal was as good as in the bag.

“We are working on the keeper position we are working on the striker position, we are working on the midfielder position," Karanka is quoted as saying by the Gazette.

"Shay was here, I know him, he knows me, so we are working and let’s see.”

News emerged in the Gazette soon after that Stoke City had made a late bid for the goalkeeper.

When pressed for information on a reported bid to bring former Middlesbrough star Stewart Downing back to the club from West Ham, the 41-year-old was a little less revealing, though he did state that the club were looking to improve the squad as much as possible even if such deal may be a little more difficult.

“I can’t say anything about Stewart as a player because everybody knows him,” Karanka added.

“For me it is difficult to think about him because I know it is very difficult for me to get this type of player because he is a Premier League player, he has offers from other places but I am here to assemble a squad as good as we can.”

The England international was also been linked with Newcastle United and Sunderland in the Chronicle last week, and Steve McClaren and Dick Advocaat may well feel that their ability to offer Premier League football to the player could swing a transfer in their favour if they so desired.

The Gazette also reported that Chelsea forward Patrick Bamford will not be heading back to the club next season, though Boro were working on another loan for Tomas Kalas.

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