Middlesbrough confident of signing Victor Valdés
Goalkeeper set for Riverside medical but a move for Robin van Persie unlikeley
Middlesbrough are close to completing the signing of Victor Valdes. Photograph: Getty
Middlesbrough are sufficiently confident of signing Víctor Valdés to have booked the former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper in for a medical on Thursday.
The newly promoted Premier League club – who seem considerably cooler about the prospect of taking up an offer to sign Robin van Persie from Fenerbahce – have held talks with Valdés’s representatives in Spain and the 34-year-old has also met Aitor Karanka.
Boro’s manager is anxious to sign a keeper and remains optimistic that Valdés, who became a free agent after being released by Manchester United this summer, will opt for the Riverside ahead of rival interest from Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas.
A multiple trophy winner at Barcelona, Valdés struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford after falling out with United’s former manager Louis van Gaal and was loaned to Standard Liège last season.
He is keen to remain in the Premier League and prove himself in England. Karanka’s current first-choice keeper is Dimi Konstantopoulos, with Tomas Mejias providing competition, but Boro’s Spanish manager has looked at several alternatives this summer.
He was keen on recruiting Matz Sels from Gent but the Belgium Under-21 goalkeeper opted to join Newcastle United instead, prompting suggestions Tim Krul might swap St James’ Park for the Riverside. Now, though, Valdés has emerged as first choice.
Karanka – whose marquee summer signing so far is Marten de Roon, a £12m defensive midfield acquisition from Italy’s Atalanta – is keen to reinforce his attack and Van Persie’s representatives are anxious to move the former Arsenal and Manchester United striker on from Fenerbahce. Although there has been contact with Boro it appears an option Karanka is unlikely to pursue.
Van Persie, 32, scored 16 goals in Turkey’s Super-Lig last season but has struggled to settle in Istanbul and Fenerbahce seem very open to offers.