Jonathan Woodgate told Hartlepool Mail that Middlesbrough had plenty of competition for Harold Moukoudi with Derby County and Stoke City reported suitors.
Boro signed the Cameroon international from St Etienne on loan on deadline day.
But Le Parisien claims they weren’t the only Championship club keen. Derby County and Stoke City reportedly saw previous loan bids turned down for the defender.
Speaking to reporters, Woodgate admits his side fought off competition for his signature.
We did [have competition], we had to do a lot of work on him. We noticed him [last summer] but there are previous years that our recruitment team have been watching different players and there have always been positive reports on him. When he became available on loan it was important that we got him.
Moukoudi is a 6ft 3inch centre-back who is comfortable on the ball.
According to the Daily Mail two years ago, Burnley were linked with a £10.7 million move for him before Moukoudi traded Le Havre for St Etienne.
His attributes seem ideal for Championship football. And it comes as little surprise to see both Derby and Stoke also eye a potential move for him in January.
The Rams wanted to strengthen central defence. Richard Keogh’s sacking leaves Phillip Cocu short on options with right-back Andre Wisdom now first-choice in the middle.
Stoke, meanwhile, are just three points above the Championship relegation zone and their defending in the recent 4-0 defeat at Derby left a lot to be desired.