English Championship side Middlesbrough FC have signed Socceroo Riley McGree in the January transfer window.
Riley McGree joins Middlesbrough FC from MLS expansion club Charlotte FC. The Socceroo most recently played for Championship opposition side Birmingham City, where he was on loan from the American club.
RILEY MCGREE TRANSFER
- McGree most recently played for Birmingham City, where the Socceroo was on loan for a season and a half.
- He was signed to MLS side Charlotte FC, but never played for the club who start their inaugural season later next month.
- Despite interest from Birmingham, Celtic FC and Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough won the race to sign McGree.
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McGree left his previous club, Championship side Birmingham City, in late December at the conclusion of a year and a half loan from MLS side Charlotte FC. He had signed with the American club in October 2020, but had yet to play as the newly formed club's inaugural season starts in February 2022.
While Birmingham were keen to keep McGree, no agreement could be made between the Blues and Charlotte. Reports then emerged that a three way race between Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough and Scottish Premiership club Celtic FC were occurring to sign the midfielder during the January transfer window.
Middlesbrough have now won the race to sign the 23-year old, with McGree joining Boro for a reported fee in the area of £3,000,000 ($5,700,000 AUD). The amount could rise to £4,400,000 ($8,400,000 AUD) depending on performance benchmarks.
Speaking of their new signing, Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said:
“We’re delighted to bring Riley into the club. He’s another good young player who wants to do well, and he will fit in well with us.
“He did well during his loan at Birmingham, we’ve been looking at him for a while, and when the opportunity came up for us to bring him to the club we jumped at it.”
Head of football Kieran Scott echoed Wilder's statement:
“Riley is a player who fits the mould of what we are looking for in that he is young, hungry, full of potential, and has a desire to join Middlesbrough.
“He turned down other opportunities because he wanted to join us here and be a part of what we are striving to build.”
The move will ensure that McGree remain in the English Championship, where he has been playing since October 2020. Prior to his arrival with Birmingham, the midfielder had played for A-Lleague clubs Adelaide United, Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets.
He was first called into the Australian national team senior side in 2017. McGree made his senior debut last year in the Socceroos' World Cup qualification campaign Third Round match against Kuwait. In total he has 7 international caps.
McGree's signed a three and a half year contract with Boro, keeping him at the club until 2025. The Daily Mail report that the Socceroos' wages would be in the region of £14,000 ($26,500 AUD) a week.
Middlesbrough have stated their intention to gain promotion back to the Premier League. McGree could be integral to this. The are currently seventh in the Championship, ten points behind leaders Bournemouth.
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