By Wayne Veysey

10th Aug, 2020 | 2:08pm

Sources: Middlesbrough table defender offer in race with Nottingham Forest, Birmingham & Swansea

Middlesbrough have offered a new contract to George Friend but face competition from three Championship big hitters for his signature, Football Insider can reveal.

The left-back, 32, is a free agent after his Boro deal came to an end when the club’s campaign finished last last month.

A Boro source has told Football Insider that the club are waiting to hear from Friend if he intends to accept their offer, which would see him take a pay cut on his previous deal.

Friend also has strong interest from Nottingham Forest, Swansea City and Birmingham City.

Forest and Swansea finished well clear of Middlesbrough in the 2019-20 season while Birmingham languished in 20th, three points adrift of Neil Warnock’s side.

Friend missed most of the recently-completed season with two serious injuries but remains the first choice left-back when fit as well as the club captain.

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He played the club’s last nine matches of the campaign, playing mainly on the left of a three-man defence following a tweak in the system by Warnock when he took over.

Friend is a long-standing favourite of supporters thanks to an association with the club dating back eight years.

He has accumulated 299 appearances for Boro, just one short of the magic 300 mark.

The Wolves academy product has also had spells at Doncaster Rovers, Exeter City, Millwall, Scunthorpe United and Southend United.

Most of his career appearances have come in the Championship, where he has played a mammoth 311 matches.

In other news, Middlesbrough have set their sights on signing 32-goal French goal machine.