TWO Middlesbrough players look set to move from the Premier League club.
Stewart Downing has been told he can leave on loan and striker David Nugent is expected to join Derby County for an initial £2m fee.
The 32-year-old former England international Downing’s situation is being monitored by a series of potential suitors after slipping out of contention at his home-town club.
Downing has been linked with neighbours Newcastle, who are engaged in a fight for promotion back to the Premier League, but might be more tempted by the chance to join forces with Sam Allardyce once again.
The midfielder prospered under the former Sunderland and England chief during their time together at West Ham, where he was used to good effect in a central role.
Allardyce is attempting to drag new club Crystal Palace out of an alarming tailspin, and is understood to have identified Downing as a potential recruit.
Boro head coach Aitor Karanka has included the player in his starting line-up only once since early November after revealing he had shown him videos to explain why he was no longer in the team, and used him only as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s 3-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
Downing is under contract on Teesside until the summer of 2019, but several clubs - some of them abroad - are thought to be interested in him.
It remains to be seen whether he would consider a return to the Championship - sources close to the player have indicated he would not - or whether Boro will consider loaning him to one of their rivals in the fight for top-flight survival.
Hull’s former Leeds star Robert Snodgrass is also wanted by Palace following the rejection of an initial £3m bid from West Ham United.
Allardyce sees the Scottish international as the ideal man to step in for Wilfried Zaha, who is heading to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.
New Hull City coach Marco Silva is poised to make his first signing.
Everton striker Oumar Niasse is expected to sign on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move.
The 26-year-old Senegalese striker, a £13.5m signing from Lokomotiv Moscow almost a year ago, has been exiled in Everton’s Under-23s since Ronald Koeman took over from Roberto Martinez. The striker has started just twice in the Premier League and is yet to score.
Leeds United could be closing in on Stuttgart’s Romania international play-maker Alexandru Maxim, 26, who has also been intereresting Hull.
The 26-year-old has been tracked by Leeds coach Garry Monk since his days in charge of Swansea.
Charlton chief Karl Robinson wants to take Barnsley youngster Elliot Lee on loan and Southend, Millwall and Oxford United are also interested in the striker.
Newcastle strike prospect Adam Armstrong, 19, says he is “over the moon” at extending his loan agreement with Barnsley by another six months.
Sheffield United are set to sign Manchester United utility player Joe Riley, 20, on loan once he has recovered from a hamstring injury.
Blades chief Chris Wilder expects Wolves to confirm Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s loan is being extended until the end of the season and is set to make Daniel Lafferty’s move from Burnley permanent.