Woodgate set for loan move to Premiership

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The Independent Football

Jonathan Woodgate has accepted he will be returning to the Premiership after Real Madrid confirmed they are looking to send him on a season's loan to England.

The club held talks with the England defender who is now waiting to discover his destination with Middlesbrough, his home-town club, or Newcastle, as the most likely recipients.

The £13.4m centre-back said: "I wanted to fight for my place at Real but the club advised me that I need to be playing week-in week-out. If I have to go to the Premiership to do that, then so be it."

Real Madrid want to sign Roma's Romanian defender Christian Chivu and play him alongside the Italian Fabio Cannavaro - that would leave Woodgate on the bench and both he and the club agree, having played just 14 games in two years, he needs more matches under his belt.

Middlesbrough are leading the chase after the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, last night denied the Anfield club were poised to go for the 26-year-old defender.