Middlesbrough hope to complete the signing of Rajiv van La Parra in the next couple of days, with the Huddersfield midfielder having watched the 2-0 win over Ipswich Town from the directors’ box at the Riverside.
Van La Parra travelled to Teesside earlier this week to agree the terms of a season-long loan from Huddersfield, with Boro keen to agree a clause that will enable them to sign the 27-year-old permanently at the end of the campaign.
The Dutchman, who is a half-brother of Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, will undergo a medical at the start of next week, but will not be eligible for the New Year’s Day game at Derby.
His arrival will help provide some of the pace in a wide position that Boro have lacked since the £18m sale of Adama Traore to Wolves in the summer.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis said: “It’s not done yet, but he’s an exciting player who’s got pace. He adds to what we need.
“I don’t think there’s any question of his pedigree, he’s got promoted out of this league with Wolves and Huddersfield.
“I spoke to Dean Whitehead, who was a good player for me at Stoke and is a great lad, and he’s given me a great recommendation on him as a person, not just as a player.
“Danny Batth has played with him, George Saville has played with him, so he’s got decent pedigree and good pace. That’s what we want. How close is it? I don’t get involved in that – it’s Neil (Bausor) and the people upstairs.”
Pulis was delighted with his side’s win over Ipswich, which lifted them back to within six points of the automatic promotion places.
Jordan Hugill opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half, before substitute Marcus Tavernier settled things with 18 minutes left.
Pulis said: “I was pleased with the performance, although I was disappointed again with the chances we created that we didn’t score enough goals. But you can’t fault the players. The players worked really hard today, and I thought we deserved to win the game.”
The result leaves Ipswich seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, and means Paul Lambert’s side have now won just one of their last 13 games.
Luke Chambers looped a first-half header onto the crossbar and Darren Randolph made an excellent one-handed save from Trevoh Chalobah, but the visitors never really looked like springing a surprise.
Lambert said: “I thought the way we played was excellent. They have one player on the bench (Britt Assombalonga) who cost more than our entire team.
“Football wise, we were absolutely brilliant. But we need to be more clinical in the final third. If we get a few in, and I think we need a little bit of help, we will be okay. Football wise, they have been excellent for me – I can’t ask any more.
“I have got their backs 100 per cent, and the crowd is with us. We need a bit more help, and a bit more experience. We need a few in.
“But the way we are playing, I think we can stay up. We need a little bit of help, but the crowd is right behind us and the players are giving their all.”