IPSWICH Town have entered the race to sign George Friend.
The Tractor Boys reportedly made their move for the 24-year-old on Wednesday afternoon, according to sources in East Anglia.
Middlesbrough agreed a fee for Friend - thought to be in the region of £250,000 - last week and the player held talks on Teesside on Saturday.
But Friend is keeping his options open and may prefer a move closer to his Devon roots.
The former Exeter and Wolves defender sees a switch to Boro as a great opportunity to move to a club with a realistic chance of reaching the Premier League.
But Ipswich also tick that box - while Friend could also be holding out for former boss Sean O’Driscoll to make a move for him after he became the new Nottingham Forest manager last week.
Dean Saunders sparked a bidding war of sorts for Friend on Saturday when he revealed he expected more clubs to match Boro’s bid.