Middlesbrough linked with highly-rated French defender as a replacement for Ben Gibson

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.

Middlesbrough could be about to bolster their defensive ranks, with manager Tony Pulis eyeing up a replacement for Ben Gibson.

According to the Sun, Boro are chasing highly-rated French centre-back Harold Moukoudi, after the 20-year-old missed out on a move to the Premier League this summer.

Moukoudi currently plays for Le Havre in the French second tier and could be available on loan, with the view to agreeing a permanent deal in January.

Arsenal, Nice, Bordeaux and RB Leipzig were among the clubs reportedly monitoring the defender.

Boro have coped well with Gibson's departure so far, after the homegrown centre-back left for Burnley earlier this month.

Tony Pulis' side have picked up seven points out of a possible nine in the Championship, ahead of tonight's Carabao Cup tie with Notts County.

New signing Aden Flint and Dael Fry have started Boro's first three games in the heart of defence, keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Sheffield United and Birmingham.

Daniel Ayala is still recovering from an injury setback, while Ryan Shotton, who has been playing at right-back, can also operate in the centre.

Even so, Pulis has already made it clear he wants to make more signings before the end of the loan transfer window on August 31.