Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka sends a message to clubs interested in Kike

Middlesbrough FC Crest

He's been linked with Leeds and Wolves in recent weeks, but Boro don't seem to want to sell.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has revealed that he wants to keep Spanish striker Kike despite mounting speculation linking him with a move away from the Riverside.

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers after Kenny Jackett's side sold Benik Afobe to AFC Bournemouth for a reported £10 million by the BBC.

Kike hasn't quite managed to nail down a starting position in Karanka's team after the signing of David Nugent for around £4 million last summer but has started all of Boro's last four Championship games, scoring once in the impressive 3-0 win over Brighton.

Speaking about the speculation of Kike's departure, Karanka claimed that he doesn't want to sell him unless a big offer is on the table, telling the Evening Gazette: “Yes, because with him we’ve won the last three (league) games when David (Nugent) was out.

“He’s a good kid, he’s improving, he’s good in the changing room, so for that reason I would like to keep him here."

Wolves aren't the only side said to be interested in Kike, with Leeds United making a loan offer back in November for the targetman, but the offer was rejected by Boro. Karanka carried on to say that unless a player wants to leave, he isn't ready to sell any of his players.

“In football can you say ‘I’m not going to sell if we receive an amazing offer for Kike?’

“The only thing that I am sure of is I am not going to accept any offers myself for players. If we accept a really good offer and the player wants to leave, that’s football.”

After being droped from the side which faced Burnley in the FA Cup, Kike is in contention for a starting place when Boro take on Brentford on Tuesday evening as they look to build on their four-point lead over Derby.

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