Middlesbrough closing in on second summer signing as Aidan Morris deal moves nearer

Aidan Morris of Columbus Crew
-Credit: (Image: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Middlesbrough are closing in on their second summer signing as they agree a deal to sign USA midfielder Aidan Morris from MLS side Columbus Crew.

Boro were known to have a primary midfield target in mind this summer having decided against pursuing a deal to sign Lewis O'Brien after his loan spell. As first reported by the Athletic, it has now emerged that Morris is that man, with the 22-year-old a player who Boro have been working to sign now for the last 18 months.

The reports from Stateside suggest a fee of just over £3 million has been agreed, though that fee has not been confirmed by sources close to Boro. It is said that he has left a USA U23s training camp to head to Teesside to finalise the details of his summer move, which will see him join Luke Ayling as Boro's second summer signing.

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It's reported that he will play one final game for the MLS outfit in what will serve as a farewell game for him and supporters after he starred since breaking through their academy ranks four years ago. Their next game is against New York City on Saturday. They then take on Lionel Messi's Inter Miami next week, but it's not certain which of the games will serve as his farewell and when exactly a move to Boro will therefore be finalised.

But all appears to be moving in a positive direction for Boro to complete a signing they have been working hard to secure for around 18 months after first identifying him as a potential future star. Despite being just 22, Morris has made over 100 appearances for Columbus Crew, having made his debut in 2020. He has won two MLS Cups in that time.

Morris is said to have long targeted a move to play in Europe and has been sold by the project at the Riverside where he will be coached by a midfield great in Michael Carrick. Boro's persistence over the last 18 months in making their admiration to the player's representatives clear will have worked in their favour too.

An exciting prospect who Boro feel can immediately enhance their starting line-up with a bit of time to settle and adapt in England, Morris has already been capped five times by the USA National Team and was expected to be part of their Olympic squad this summer, though it's not certain if or how that will be affected by his summer switch to Teesside.

Said to be a box-to-box midfielder who is comfortable and composed in possession, he last summer made the MLS All-Stars Roster for the annual game, which was last year managed by Carrick's former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney and played against Arsenal.