Middlesbrough have signed St-Etienne's Harold Moukoudi on loan for the rest of the season to bring strength and pedigree to the centre of their defence.
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Boro have been light in that, often having to field Jonny Howson and Paddy McNair in a makeshift back three. Former Leeds United player Howson is a specialist midfielder and although McNair often played in a back three at the start of his Manchester United career, that is now seen as the Northern Ireland international's best position too.
“We’re delighted to bring Harold in to the club,” said manager Jonathan Woodgate, himself a former Boro centre-back. “He’s a player we’ve been keeping an eye on and it’s a real coup that we’ve been able to bring him here.
“He’s a unit of a defender, a real big, strong lad, and he’s a quality player. He’s still young, but he has plenty of experience, having played in the top division in France, in the Europa League, and also for Cameroon.
"He’ll be a very important addition to our squad and will really increase the competition we have for places."
Moukoudi, who started his career at Le Havre, is 6ft 3in and good at bringing the ball out from the back.
The 22-year-old is a Cameroon international, he represented France from under-16 to under-20 level.
He signed a five-year contract in April, but has only made 11 Ligue 1 appearances this season.
Boro had been linked with a move for their former centre-back, Ben Gibson. They are also working on a loan for Sheffield United playmaker Ravel Morrison.