Lewis O'Brien and Paddy McNair 'attracting transfer interest' as Middlesbrough spells come to an end

Both Lewis O'Brien and Paddy McNair are said to be attracting interest ahead of the summer transfer window - with the pair's spells at Middlesbrough coming to an end following the conclusion of the season.

For O'Brien, he was a loan signing last summer from Nottingham Forest and therefore his departure comes as a natural conclusion to that short-term deal. While frustratingly injured for much of the campaign, he returned in February and had a strong end to the season, and Boro may yet explore a permanent deal to sign the midfielder.

For McNair, however, he confirmed on social media on Sunday that his six years at the Riverside were ending, with his contract up this summer. Reacting to that, boss Michael Carrick told the club website: "Paddy has been a great servant to the club and an important figure during my time here. We wish him all the best for the future."

READ MORE: Paddy McNair confirms Middlesbrough exit after six years in social media 'thank you' post

The summer transfer window might not officially open until next month but that does not stop the speculation starting with regard to summer movement. In a weekend report from Sun journalist Alan Nixon, via his Patreon site, claims that Boro will pursue a permanent move for the midfielder.

That would make sense at the right price, with Boro working so hard last summer and needing to be patient to complete the loan move, because of their belief that the 25-year-old had the ability to be a game-changer for them over the course of the season. Sadly, his long-term injury meant he didn't quite have the impact he would have liked, but he showed his quality after returning and expressed his willingness to rejoin this summer if the move became available to him.

However, the same report claims that Boro will have competition. Nixon says that Chris Wilder's relegated Sheffield United will be interested in signing the Nottingham Forest star, and will have parachute payments to help their cause though a big summer rebuild might be required at Bramall Lane. Preston North End are also mentioned in the report, with the Lilywhites potentially losing captain Alan Browne after he recently turned down a new contract offer.

It remains uncertain what Nottingham Forest will do with the 25-year-old this summer, however, as they battle against relegation from the Premier League. An important win on Saturday over Sheffield United left them three points ahead of Luton Town with two games left to play.

If they do avoid the drop then O'Brien, who has two years left on his Forest deal, is unlikely to have a future at the City Ground. However, whether a permanent move proves financially viable for Boro, or whether they decide to look elsewhere to bolster their midfield options remains to be seen. Carrick has recently talked up the value of continuation, which O'Brien would offer.

For McNair, meanwhile, he will be on the lookout for a new club this summer and will surely prove an attractive prospect for many while available on a free. At 29, he made 25 appearances for Boro this season and while ultimately down the pecking order, proved more than capable when injuries meant he was required to play.

Since he announced his Boro departure bringing to an end six years at the club, reports have linked him with a move to boyhood club Rangers - though they appear at this stage to have little more substance than an editorial on Rangers news site run by supporters that discussed the value in the Ibrox outfit making a move.

The Belfast Telegraph have named Maccabi Tel Aviv and Italian side Como. Tel Aviv are managed by Robbie Keane who coached McNair at Boro when serving as Jonathan Woodgate's assistant in 2019-20.