Reported Derby County target Harold Moukoudi says manager Jonathan Woodgate was a big influence in his decision to join Middlesbrough, Northern Echo report.
Moukoudi was heavily linked with several Championship clubs in January.
According to Le Parisien, Derby County and Stoke City saw loan bids fail while Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion were also keen on his services.
But it was Boro who won the race for his signature. And Moukoudi explains why:
I had a lot of clubs in this window but I chose Middlesbrough. I want to learn with my other defenders and with the coach, he played in the same position as me, and I think he will be good for my progression. I’m impressed by the stadium. In France, the second league haven’t got stadiums like this, and the feeling when I played here was special.
Derby were on the lookout for a new defender throughout January.
The sacking of Richard Keogh has left the Rams short at the back. Moreover, current duo Curtis Davies and Matt Clarke have struggled with playing out from the back.
Moukoudi, 22, is highly-rated and boasted an 86.8% pass-accuracy rate in France.
The Cameroon international was a reported target for Premier League side Burnley in 2018. The Daily Mail claimed the Clarets eyed him in a £10.7 million deal.
Moukoudi’s career has stalled somewhat since then. However, a spell at Boro in the Championship may provide a platform for a permanent move to England this summer.