Middlesbrough are ready to rival Leeds United for the signature of Kyle Bartley if Swansea City decide to sell the defender in the forthcoming transfer window.
Garry Monk’s appointment as Boro boss has put the Teesside club in the hunt for Bartley with Swansea set to rule on Bartley’s future when he returns for pre-season training next month.
Bartley is already on Leeds’ list of targets after completing a highly impressive season on loan with Monk at Elland Road.
The centre-back parted company with Leeds following their final game of the Championship term at Wigan Athletic on May 7 but United’s prospects of recruiting him have been threatened since then by both Monk’s resignation as head coach and the insistence of Swansea manager Paul Clement that Bartley could yet be part of his plans.
Swansea narrowly averted relegation from the Premier League last month and Clement, who took charge at the Liberty Stadium in January, intends to assess Bartley before listening to any offers for him.
The former Arsenal defender has been with Swansea since 2012 but is yet to establish himself as a regular first-team player.
His reputation was enhanced, however, by a successful loan at Leeds in which he captained the side for parts of the season and his contract with Swansea runs to next summer.
City extended his deal by 12 months on the day he left to join Leeds on loan.
United remain keen on striking a permanent deal but Monk was appointed as Middlesbrough manager last week and is set to move for Bartley if Boro lose any of their leading centre-backs.
England international Ben Gibson is widely expected to leave The Riverside in the summer window while Boro could also consider bids for Daniel Ayala.
Bartley was vocal in his support of Monk in April, at a time when Monk was waiting to learn if Leeds intended to extend his contract beyond the end of this season.
“If Garry does stay, the club will be in better hands than if he doesn’t,” Bartley said after a 3-3 draw with Norwich City which ended United’s bid for the play-offs. “He’s the cornerstone of this club at the moment and if they don’t sign him up they could be in trouble.”
Monk resigned from his job at Elland Road on May 25, a day before Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani planned to exercise an option to extend his deal to the summer of 2018.
Monk claimed this week that he had quit after talks with Radrizzani because the management structure under United’s new owner “wasn’t right for me”.
Bartley and Pontus Jansson struck up a dominant partnership in the centre of Monk’s Leeds defence and Jansson is poised to sign for United on a permanent basis from Torino on July 1.