EXCLUSIVE by Pete O’Rourke

Middlesbrough are closing in on former Chelsea defender Todd Kane on a free transfer, Football Insider understands

Kane is available on a free this summer after Chelsea missed the deadline to take up an option on his contract earlier this month.

Sources at Middlesbrough have told Football Insider that the 25-year-old fits the profile of player manager Jonathan Woodgate wants to sign this summer as he attempts to work with a restricted transfer budget at the Riverside.

Kane enjoyed a successful season on loan at Hull, making 41 appearances in all competitions and chipping in with three goals for the Tigers and his performances have brought him onto the radar of a number of clubs.

Football Insider revealed last month that newly promoted Aston Villa were joined by Sheffield United, Fulham and Derby in chasing his signature but it is Boro who are closing in on his capture.

The versatile defender could now become only Middlesbrough’s second signing of the summer as Woodgate looks to add strength to his squad ahead of the new season starting.

Kane never made a first-team appearance for Chelsea having spent the majority of his time at Stamford Bridge out on loan with spells at Preston North End, Blackburn, Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Oxford United and Hull as well as stints abroad in Holland withh NEC Nijmegen and FC Groningen.

In other Middlesbrough news, it can be REVEALED the club are chasing a top-flight winger that could be offloaded by a London-based side.