Stoke swoop for Given
Stoke City look set to win the race for Shay Given's signature after making a last-ditch bid to hijack Middlesbrough's move for the Ireland goalkeeper.
Middlesbrough had hoped to complete the permanent signing of Given today on a two-year deal after Aston Villa agreed to release the 39-year-old from the final year of his contract - the Donegal man spent three months on loan at the Riverside during the 2013-14 season.
But Premiership club Stoke stepped in with an 11th-hour raid.
The Potters' first-choice keeper, Asmir Begovic, is being targeted by Chelsea to provide back-up for Thibaut Courtois.
Given, who has been working towards his coaching qualifications, made just 10 appearances for Villa last season, seven of them in the domestic cup competitions including the FA Cup final.
Boro boss Aitor Karanka was hugely impressed with Given during his time on Teesside, and was eager to hand him a role in another push for promotion to the Premier League.
The veteran previously played in the north-east for Sunderland and Newcastle.