Wheater finally joins Bolton

Last updated : 20 January 2011 By Northern Echo

And with just 11 days until the transfer window closes, West Brom centre-back Abdoulaye Meite has emerged as one of Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray's preferred choices of replacement.

A week of complex negotiations were resolved on Tuesday evening, when a compromise fee for Wheater was agreed between Boro chief executive Keith Lamb and his counterpart at the Reebok Stadium.

It is understood Boro will receive more than £3m, with the vast majority of the fee being received in an up-front payment.

The centre-back, who would have been available for nothing in the summer had his current contract been allowed to expire, will be free to make his Bolton debut in this weekend's home game with Chelsea.

His departure leaves a defensive gap that Boro boss Tony Mowbray is keen to plug before the transfer window closes on January 31.

Mowbray has drawn up a list of potential defensive replacements, but the drawnout nature of Wheater's exit has already seen one of them move elsewhere.

Sean Morrison completed a £300,000 move from Swindon Town to Reading on Tuesday night, scuppering Boro's hopes of recruiting him as a long-term successor to Wheater.

Mowbray has sent scouting teams to watch the 20-year-old centre-back on a number of occasions this season, and had been hoping to use some of Wheater's transfer fee to fund a bid for his services.

Reading's decisiveness has forced him to look elsewhere, and Ivory Coast international Meite is one of the players currently under consideration.

The 30-year-old, who was signed by Mowbray during his time at the Hawthorns, has made just three Carling Cup appearances for the Baggies this season.

Wheater's departure has also increased Andrew Davies' chances of earning a permanent contract at the Riverside, although Watford have also expressed an interest in the former Boro defender.

Davies has been training with Boro's first-team squad for almost two months now, after Stoke boss Tony Pulis deemed him surplus to requirements at the Britannia Stadium.

Mowbray watched the Stockton-born defender in a reserves game against Grimsby Town last week, and has permission to play him in another second-string fixture.

He was not involved in this week's North Riding Senior Cup semi-final with Guisborough Town, however, and with Boro's next reserve game not scheduled until the middle of next month, it as appears as though Mowbray has seen enough to make a decision on Davies' future.

That decision is expected to be positive, and with Stoke unlikely to drive a hard bargain as they attempt to re-organise their squad, the 26-year-old could be involved in Saturday's Championship home game with Preston if he can be persuaded to re-sign for his hometown team.

As Davies prepares to rejoin Boro, Tarmo Kink's brief spell on Teesside could be coming to an end.

The Estonia international has been the subject of a number of approaches from European sides, and Mowbray is understood to be willing to allow him to leave Middlesbrough this month.

Kink signed a three-year deal when he made a £650,000 move from Hungarian side Gyori ETO last July, but has only started two of Boro's last 16 league matches.

He has barely been involved under Mowbray, and Boro are expected to take a minor hit on his transfer fee in order to avoid having to pay his wages for the next two-and-a-half years.

Kink is unlikely to still be a Middlesbrough player at the end of the month, but fellow midfielder Willo Flood should be back in full training by the time the transfer window closes.

Flood dislocated his kneecap in an accidental collision with Matthew Bates on the opening weekend of the season, but is now just a fortnight away from a return.

The Irishman will add some much-needed width, a commodity that has been in relatively short supply during his absence.

Australia international Rhys Williams is hoping to return in four weeks time as he nears the end of his recovery from a long-standing pelvic problem.

Source: Northern Echo

Source: Northern Echo