Middlesbrough are interested in signing Czech Republic international defender Tomas Kalas from Chelsea on a permanent deal, according to the player's agent.
Kalas made 30 appearances in all competitions on loan last season as Middlesbrough won promotion to the Premier League after a seven-year absence, and manager Aitor Karanka is reportedly keen to bring the 23-year-old back to the Riverside Stadium ahead of the new campaign.
Another loan move is possible for Kalas, who returned for preseason training at Cobham last week and is contracted to Chelsea until June 2018, but his agent has revealed that a permanent move to Middlesbrough is not out of the question.
"Kalas wants to stay in England next season, preferably in the Premier League," Mithat Halis told the Evening Gazette when asked about his client's future.
"He is happy at Chelsea but Middlesbrough are interested."
Kalas joined Chelsea from Sigma Olomouc in July 2010 and made his Premier League debut in April 2014, playing the full 90 minutes and impressing as the Blues derailed Liverpool's title charge with a dramatic 2-0 win at Anfield.
But he has since played all of his football on loan at Cologne and Middlesbrough, and last season he said he would consider a permanent move to Teesside.
"I don't know how many games I've played since I came, probably around 40, which is not bad in one and a half years," Kalas told the Evening Gazette in May. "That's why I came here, to play games, and hopefully I'll keep playing next season -- maybe here.
"If I could get the deal [to move to Boro permanently] I would really think about it. Yes, why not!"