Interesting summer ahead for Riley McGree after Middlesbrough future comments

Riley McGree of Middlesbrough
-Credit: (Image: Ryan Crockett/News Images)

Riley McGree hasn't ruled out leaving Middlesbrough this summer, in an interview that sets up for an interesting couple of months ahead as far as his future is concerned.

McGree has been over in Australia enjoying a break after surgery on a foot problem that ended his season early. He is due to return to Rockliffe for the start of pre-season training on Monday, June 24 and, in the meantime, it's likely talks with his representatives will continue as the forward enters the final 12 months of his current Boro deal.

Asked about heading back for the start of the season with uncertainty over his future, McGree told 7News Adelaide in his homeland: "Every season is important. I'm going out there as I would any season, (whether that) be with Middlesbrough again or elsewhere. I have to say I love the club and the people there."

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As things stand, while Boro would prefer to keep McGree this summer, they have to be open to the possibility of needing to move him on if an impasse can't be found on contract negotiations. While McGree also sounds keen to sign a new deal and stay, it's understood that the two parties are apart in terms of what an acceptable deal looks like.

It leaves plenty of uncertainty surrounding how the summer will go for McGree and whether he stays at Boro or not. Undoubtedly, the 25-year-old remains an important player for Boro, but he is coming off the back of a season blighted by injuries. It meant he started only 14 league games and was unable to make much of an impact.

It makes the current situation a delicate one for the Australian. It remains to be seen what interest, if any, there is in McGree from elsewhere off the back of a disappointing campaign. Whether he could take what would be considered a forward step in his career after last season is unknown.

But if he can't, there has to be an element of McGree needing to be careful this summer because in his absence at the end of last season, Finn Azaz really started to come into his own, while Alex Gilbert finished on a high and will hope to make a positive impression in pre-season to cement a place in the squad next term as opposed to heading out on loan.

Carrick has previously expressed excitement over the development of McGree's countryman Sammy Silvera too, while Boro are known to be in the market for another versatile forward who would be capable of playing the same two roles as McGree in Michael Carrick's ideal set up.

Known to be targeting quality this summer, if McGree waits too long on his contract decision in the hope of either getting more money or finding a bigger club, he could end up in a position where he has no better alternative options but is also down the pecking order at Boro.

While his quality would allow him to compete for a spot, there'd be no denying that complicated contract negotiations could dampen relations and impact trust in a season in which Carrick will demand his players are all on the same page and pushing in the same direction to bring Boro success.

All that said, it would undoubtedly be a boost for Boro if McGree were to follow in the footsteps of Isaiah Jones and Carrick himself and sign a new deal to commit to the club and its project. Hopefully it's a situation that can be resolved in a manner that both satisfies what he feels he's worth, without impeding on Boro's budget, and thus ability to strengthen their squad, too much.