Why Kieron Freeman could be a handy signing for Middlesbrough
According to claims from TEAMtalk, as cited by Hartlepool Mail, Middlesbrough are one of the Championship clubs to have enquired about the possibility of signing Sheffield United star Kieron Freeman on loan during the January transfer window.
The 27-year-old, who is yet to start a single game for the Blades in the Premier League this season, has expressed his desire to leave Bramall Lane on loan when the transfer window reopens in January (TEAMtalk h/t Hartlepool Mail).
Born in Arnold, Nottingham, Kieron Freeman started his footballing education at Nottingham Forest but he struggled to establish himself at his boyhood club and spent time on loan at Notts County and Mansfield Town in the lower divisions before completing a move to Derby County.
A switch to Pride Park, however, didn’t particularly work in favour of his career, with the defender forced to spend time on loan at Notts County, Mansfield Town and Sheffield United before joining the Blades permanently in 2015.
Freeman, who initially found himself loaned out to Portsmouth in the League Two, eventually established himself as a mainstay at the back for the Blades and played a key role in the club’s surge for promotion in the League One.
The 27-year-old started 20 games in the Championship last season and contributed with 2 goals and 4 assists, with Chris Wilder rotating him and George Baldock in the right wing-back slot.
However, Freeman, who will be out of contract at Bramall Lane next summer, has largely found himself relegated to bench duty this term, with Baldock starting each of the club’s first 13 league fixtures and establishing himself as the undisputed first-choice.
The former Nottingham Forest academy graduate has found regular minutes hard to come by, with his only involvement so far coming in the EFL Cup fixtures against Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland.
To put things into perspective, Kieron Freeman currently finds himself down the pecking order at Sheffield United and Middlesbrough should pounce on the opportunity to sign him on loan in January.
Having endured a terrible start to their season in the Championship, Boro currently find themselves languishing 20th in the standings, just above the relegation zone.
The Teessiders lack adequate personnel for the right-back position, making it difficult for Jonathan Woodgate to switch between a back-three and back-four formations.
With summer recruit Anfernee Dijksteel failing to make an impact so far – and the likes of Patrick McNair and Jonny Howson only good enough to be stop-gaps in that role – Kieron Freeman could slot seamlessly into Woodgate’s philosophy.
Having played a key role in Sheffield United’s promotion last season, the 27-year-old is capable of playing as a wing-back in a back-three system.
Freeman has a wealth of experience under his belt and the prospect of adding a promotion-winner to the squad midway through the season would be a masterstroke for Boro.
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With that in mind, Middlesbrough would bag a real coup if they manage to secure a loan deal for Kieron Freeman during the mid-season trading period.