Kike could still play his part at Boro

Middlesborough boss Aitor Karanka

Middlesborough boss Aitor Karanka

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MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka insists Spanish striker Kike has a future on Teesside – despite the club’s moves for Christian Stauni and Jordan Rhodes.

Boro are close to completing a deal for Espanyol’s Uruguayan frontman Stauni and have also tabled a big-money bid for Blackburn Rovers’ former Huddersfield Town forward Rhodes.

A £12m offer remains on the table for Rhodes, with Town being interested onlookers with the club due 20 per cent of any profit made on Rhodes, who moved to Ewood Park in an £8m move in August, 2012.

Rovers chief Gary Bowyer ran the rule over Boro in their 4-0 friendly win at Barnsley at Wednesday, raising the prospect of a part-exchange deal for Rhodes.

Spanish attacker Kike, who arrived for £2.7m from Real Murcia last season, could potentially be one of those players involved, although Karanka feels he still has a part to play at the Riverside, despite an inauspicious first season at the club.

On whether Kike, who struck twice in Boro’s 4-0 romp at Oakwell, has a Boro future, Karanka said: “Yes, because I trusted him last season and he scored goals but it takes time to settle in.

“He came from Murcia, he was the star in Murcia, so it was difficult because he came to a different club and country and a different language.

“Now he is more mature and I think he’s going to score more goals this season.

“I think after scoring at Barnsley he is going to be more confident, more calm and I think it will be better for everybody because he is a good player and he just needs confidence.”

Boro have offered a deal worth £12m, which would include an initial down-payment of £8m for striker Rhodes.

Blackburn are keen on a larger initial payment for the frontman, who has revealed his desire to join Boro.

Aitor Karanka.

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