Middlesbrough interested in signing Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede after dour goalless draw with Leicester

Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Guzan saves a late header from Leicester City's Leonardo Ulloa.
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Guzan saves a late header from Leicester City's Leonardo Ulloa.

Aitor Karanka evaded questions regarding Middlesbrough’s interest in signing Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede after his side’s dour goalless draw against Leicester.

Villa are understood to have accepted a fee in the region of £6million for the Benin forward who was left out of the squad for his side’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Cardiff on Monday.

Gestede is believed to be on Teesside to tie up the deal but Karanka denied having met the player and added: “I want to finish the transfer market with a better squad than we have now and we have one month.

“I think for us it’s about keeping going. We know it’s going to be difficult to win games because we can’t forget we were in the Championship last season. When we take our chances we will win games.”

Karanka had an issue with the failure of referee Robert Madley to award a first-half penalty after Adama Traore tumbled under the challenge of Robert Huth, with the Boro boss claiming Huth had accepted his escape was fortunate.

However the suggestion was laughed off by Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who responded to the suggestion that Boro might have felt hard done by over the spot-kick by responding: “It that is a penalty, I am the pope.”

Karanka sought to accentuate the positives from an eminently forgettable game, insisting another point against the Foxes, coming soon after November’s 2-2 draw at the Walkers Stadium, underlined his side’s Premier League credentials.

He added: “I am really pleased with the performance because when we played away against them we were better than them, and we showed again today that we are better than them.

“We can’t forget that this season they are not in a comfortable position but they are in the Champions League and they are a really good team, so for us to play them twice and show we could have won those games is very pleasing.”

Gaston Ramirez lashed a late chance wide to serve up a timely reminder of Boro’s need for attacking reinforcements in an eminently forgettable goalless draw.

The Uruguayan steered his half-volley wide from eight yards to sum up a frustrating afternoon for the hosts and give Karanka plenty of reason to seek to finalise a deal for Gestede.

Ramirez spurned his golden chance to claim three priceless points for his side when he controlled Fabio’s deflected cross only to whack it the wrong side of Schmeichel’s left-hand post.

Any additional goalscoring threat will be welcomed with open arms on Teesside after a dour point which does little to ease Boro’s lingering relegation concerns.

Boro made five changes from Saturday’s defeat at Old Trafford but neither side deserved to take the points from a game that offered little evidence that either face anything other than uncomfortable months ahead.

Boro: Guzan, Barragan (Friend 34), Chambers, Gibson, Da Silva, de Roon, Clayton, Forshaw (Leadbitter 89), Traore (Downing 80), Negredo, Ramirez. Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Rhodes, Stuani. Booked: Ramirez, Gibson, Clayton.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mendy (Albrighton 83), Amartey, King, Okazaki (Gray 74), Mahrez (Musa 71), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Hernandez, Chilwell, Zieler, Wasilewski.

Att: 32,437 Ref: Robert Madley