Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka has warned Leicester City that they will not get want-away midfielder Gaston Ramirez on the cheap.
Karanka confirmed that the 26-year-old Uruguayan has handed in a transfer request, and that the Premier League champions have had a bid for his services rejected.
He faces a battle to hang on to a man the Teessiders worked hard to sign on a permanent basis during the summer.
Karanka said: “Yes, he’s handed in a transfer request, but the offer that we received is not good enough.
“It’s more than difficult, it’s frustrating because he was calling us to play here last season. He played his best last season, he went back to the national team again playing with us and to have this situation is frustrating as a coach and as a person.”
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri was coy when asked about the situation.
The Italian said: “This is not my matter. I am head coach, I am not manager. I don’t speak about money.”
Karanka found himself in a similar position last season when now Aston Villa midfielder Albert Adomah asked to leave. While he admits he feels let down by Ramirez, Karanka believes the damage is not irreparable.
He said: “We have a really good example with Albert. I don’t know how many times there were rumours that I had a really, really bad relationship with Albert, but the first day he played, he scored and he came to me to give me a hug.”
Karanka also confirmed that Boro have had a bid for Hull’s Robert Snodgrass rejected, with Burnley and West Ham also vying for the services of the £10million-rated Scotland international.
Asked if he felt the Tigers were reluctant to do business with a relegation rival, he replied: “You don’t need to go to university to know that, it’s obvious.
“He’s a player who we like, he’s a player who we are trying to bring here and let’s see. We have four or five days to see what is happening.”
Snodgrass is one of a series of targets for Karanka, who has already added Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford to his squad this month, and he has confirmed his interest in Paris Saint-Germain attacker Jese Rodriguez, with whom he has worked within the Spain youth set-up and Real Madrid.
He said: “It’s massive because he’s a player who I have known for the last seven, eight years. He was one of my favourite players when he was in the national team.
“I was with him when I was at Real Madrid, I know his potential, I know his character, so he could help us a lot.
“PSG paid this summer 25million Euros for him, so he’s a player who can bring us a lot of things, and we are trying to convince him.”
Meanwhile, Karanka remains unrepentant over his post-match comments after last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat by West Ham, when he described the atmosphere at the Riverside Stadium as “awful” with some fans among a crowd of 30,848 urging his team to “attack, attack, attack” and others leaving early.
He said: “I have been just three years a coach, but I won’t ever regret something I have said to defend the players.
“The most important thing is that the people who are going to the stadium and who weren’t last season and two seasons before, they have to know that we had a plan to get promotion; we got promotion and we have to play always in the same style. We have a style and that style has been successful for us.”
Boro defender Calum Chambers could be out for several weeks after suffering a stress fracture in his foot.
The 22-year-old, on a season-long loan from Arsenal, is yet to discover the full extent of the problem.
Chambers will definitely miss tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie at home to League Two Accrington Stanley and Tuesday’s vital home Premier League clash with West Brom,
Karanka said: “It’s a stress fracture in his foot. I don’t know how long [he will be out] because sometimes you think it’s going to be one or two weeks and maybe it’s three or four.
“I don’t know. At the moment, he’s trying to be [fit] as soon as possible.”