Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has issued a stark "not for sale" warning to any parties interested in David Wheater.
The highly-rated centre-back has been linked with a host of top-flight clubs this summer following Boro's relegation to the Championship while Wheater himself insists he is keen to stay at the Riverside.
Southgate has moved to make Boro's stance clear, telling the club's official website: "He's not for sale and we won't welcome any bids for him."
He added: "He has personally expressed his own desire to stay. The fact he has expressed that wish to me and to the fans is key. David and Matthew Bates epitomise the hunger and character we need to take this club forward again."
But Wheater is not the only name in the limelight on Teesside and, although serious offers will be considered for some players, Southgate insists the club are not desperate, or in need, to sell.
He continued: "We won't have a fire sale. Any interested clubs will have to match our valuation for any of our players before we consider letting them go. Any bids we do receive we will then mull them over."
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