Middlesbrough scouts were in Italy last Thursday to watch Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu against Sampdoria in the Serie A.
Badu played the full 90 minutes and Boro manager Aitor Karanka could make a move for him next month.
But the main obstacle is that the Ghana international will be away for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon from mid-January until possibly 05 February.
Badu is said to have impressed the club during last summer’s 0-0 pre-season friendly clash at the Dacia Arena.
The 26-year-old joined Udinese in January 2010 and has gone on to become a regular in an attacking midfield role.