Boro edging out Eagles for Mikel deal
Crystal Palace's hopes of signing Nigeria international midfielder Jon Obi Mikel look set to be scuppered by Middlesbrough.
The 31-year-old former Chelsea man is looking for a return to English football after recently departing Chinese side Tianjin Teda by mutual consent.
Mikel had talks with Championship promotion hopefuls Boro last week and it was claimed that former Eagles boss Tony Pulis has decided against offering him a contract.
That resulted in speculation that Roy Hodgson would look to take the experienced campaigner to Selhurst Park in this transfer window.
But it now seems that Pulis is looking to offload up to four players this month and that will give him the finances to bring in Mikel, with the player thought to be back in the North-East for fresh negotiations.
Mikel would no doubt prefer to play in the Premier League given that he helped Chelsea win two league titles, three FA Cups, the League Cup, Champions League and Europa League in 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
But the guarantee of regular football in an advanced number 10 role at Boro looks like it could sway him to link up with Pulis at the Riverside Stadium.
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.