Report: Crystal Palace and West Brom enter race to sign Middlesbrough defender George Friend

West Brom and Crystal Palace are rivalling Aston Villa to sign the Middlesbrough defender.

The Express and Star has reported that West Brom and Crystal Palace are ready to make moves to sign George Friend from Middlesbrough, with Aston Villa already showing an interest in him.

A 27-year-old left-back, Friend is regarded as one of the best players in the Championship, and having missed out on promotion to the Premier League, it is likely that Middlesbrough could lose him this summer.

The Northern Echo claimed that Villa were keen on moving for him earlier this month, and the new report indicates that Palace and West Brom are ready to offer £5 million bids for him.

Friend excelled during Boro’s push for promotion last season, making 48 appearances as Aitor Karanka’s men showed off one of the best defences in the Championship.

Able to play in the centre of defence, it is the left-back role where he is most well regarded, and his leadership abilities saw him captain the side when Grant Leadbitter was out of action.

The Teesside club would rue losing their star man, and it is likely that a £5 million bid will not be enough to sign him.

He is vital to any success Boro will enjoy in the future, and with three years still remaining on his contract, the club have no need to sell him.

Friend would be a great signing for any Premier League club looking to bring guaranteed defensive solidity to their left-back position, and it is no surprise that their is serious interest in him from the three top flight clubs.

However, they will surely have to up their bids if they intend to bring Friend to the first division this summer.

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