Woodgate set for Boro return
Jonathan Woodgate is poised for a return to Middlesbrough subject to a medical.
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The 32-year-old former England international is a free agent having played for Stoke last season.
And the npower Championship club have revealed on their official website, mfc.co.uk, that Woodgate is close to starting a second spell at the Riverside Stadium, where he played 52 times after an initial loan move from Real Madrid six years ago.
Boro eventually paid the Spanish giants £7million for Woodgate on that occasion before an £8million move to Tottenham in January 2008.
The former Leeds youngster has commanded in excess of £35million in transfer fees despite suffering an injury-stricken career.
The former Leeds and Newcastle defender has already set his sights on helping the Teessiders to regain a place in the Barclays Premier League.
Woodgate, who expects to end his career at the Riverside Stadium, told the club's official website, www.mfc.co.uk: "The pull of helping Boro back in the Premier League is very strong for me, and from what I have seen of the current squad I think it's achievable.
"[Manager] Tony Mowbray explained his plans for next season and how he is building a team that wants to get back in the Premier League as soon as possible.
"I want to be part of that and if we can achieve promotion in my time here, it will be a fantastic way to end my career.
"Tony also likes his teams to play football the right way, and that was also a big plus point for me. It's just a great feeling to come back to this football club."
Mowbray, who re-signed old boy Stuart Parnaby earlier this week, was impressed by Woodgate in their discussions and had no qualms about offering him a contract.
He said: "I've been very impressed with Jonathan in my conversations with him, and his passion for the football club stands out.
"I don't need to eulogise about Jonathan's quality. He's played for some of the biggest clubs in the world.
"We need to build on that experience and the quality he brings to our squad."
Woodgate follows Parnaby, midfielder Grant Leadbitter and fellow central defender Christian Burgess through the doors at Boro's Rockliffe Park training headquarters this summer as Mowbray attempts to rebuild his squad on a budget.
He initially made his name at Leeds before securing a big-money move to Newcastle in January 2003 as the Yorkshire club descended into financial chaos.
But he spent only 19 months on Tyneside before Real Madrid came calling to offer him the chance of a lifetime.
However, the injuries which had hampered him at St James' Park blighted his time in Spain, and although he recovered his fitness at Boro - initially on loan - to win a move to Tottenham in January 2008, his old problems returned.
At his best, Woodgate is a class act and Mowbray will hope his ability and experience, coupled with a good run of health, can be of benefit to his new-look squad.