Given signing becomes priority for Boro chief

Shay Given.
Shay Given.
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AITOR KARANKA is to press ahead with plans to sign veteran goalkeeper Shay Given until the end of the season next month – while revealing that several players could be leaving the club in the New Year.

The Basque will attempt to trim down his squad in January with quality as opposed to quantity his watchword.

But the goalkeeping department has leapt to his list of prioritites following the news that No 1 Jason Steele faces a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

The 23-year-old had been expected to be available for today’s clash with the Seagulls after completing a three-match ban following his dismissal at Leeds last month.

Given’s loan spell from Aston Villa ends on December 27, with the Irishman keen to keep his options open ahead of January, with Swansea having been linked with a move for the 37-year-old as a potential replacement for the injured Michel Vorm.

Karanka, who will be without striker Kei Kamara for the festive programme due to a knee problem, is known to be keen to retain the services of Given and Boro are set to speak with Villa shortly.

Specifically on Given, Karanka said: “We will be having discussions with Aston Villa.

“It depends on what Shay wants, and on what Aston Villa want to do, but I would like to have him here for the whole of the season. That would be my choice, but it is not just up to me.”

On his transfer plans for January, he added: “We will be looking to try to bring players in, but that might also mean that some players have to leave.

“I have been speaking with the club about this, and we discussed it before I came.

“I am not someone who likes to train with a lot of players every day because I do not think that is any good. This weekend, I have to write 18 players’ name on a list, and if I have 30 players to choose from, that is not an ideal position.

“There will be a lot of players who have been training 100 per cent, and it is difficult for me to not even name them in my squad.

“If some players arrive in January, then that will be even more to accommodate and, ideally, I would like a squad of 22 or 23 players. I would like to bring some quality players in.”