According to Football Insider (h/t the Birmingham Mail), Middlesbrough are planning a January swoop for Aston Villa defender James Chester.
James Chester, 30, has made just two appearances for Aston Villa this season due to injuries and made his first club appearance since last January in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool before Christmas.
He’s been through a gruelling injury spell after a recurring knee problem finally took its toll in a Championship clash against Ipswich Town last January.
The Wales international is out of contract in the summer and has fallen down the pecking order at Villa Park behind Tyrone Mings, Bjorn Engels, Kortney Hause and Ezri Konsa. With Chester not yet having been offered a new contract, Middlesbrough have been alerted to his possible availability.
Middlesbrough have recently been in good form. They drew 2-2 with Derby County over the weekend, dropping points despite dominating the game for long spells.
Based on the result against Derby, Woodgate should look to freshen up things a bit by bringing in a player or two. He needs to add depth to his Boro squad to deal with a busy second half of the season.
After signing Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City, the Teessiders must prioritize bringing in a central defender and James Chester would fit the bill perfectly.
Chester has made just two appearances for Villa this season, both of which have come in the cup competitions – following their promotion back to the Premier League in May. The 30-year-old has been proven to be a fantastic player for the Villans ever since joining from local rivals West Brom in the summer of 2016.
The Welshman is an experienced defender and has proven his ability in English football. A leader and a fantastic organiser of the backline, Chester would certainly tighten up things at the back for Boro and be a vocal presence, on and off the pitch, for Woodgate’s young side.
All in all, Middlesbrough managing to sign the former Manchester United man would represent a statement of intent.
Chester will have one eye on breaking back into the Wales squad for the upcoming Euro’s in the summer and may seek a move away in search of regular first-team football. And a move to the Riverside Stadium would just be the right move for the experienced centre-back.
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