MIDDLESBROUGH have completed the signing of former Plymouth Argyle loanee Finn Azaz from Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £2 million.

The 23-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half year contract with the north-east based club.

The player brings a wealth of experience despite his young years, and has already clocked up more than 150 career appearances and scored 25 goals.

Azaz, who graduated from the West Brom Academy where he started as a nine-year-old, spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Cheltenham before joining Aston Villa permanently in the following summer.

From Villa, he gained more senior experience with a loan at Newport, where he scored seven goals in 45 matches, and he has spent the last 18 months at Argyle, where he made 67 appearances, scored 15 goals, and was a League One promotion winner last season.

Boro head coach Michael Carrick said: "I'm delighted to bring Finn to the club. He's an exciting player who already comes with good experience. He's had a good season so far, and we're really looking forward to working with him."

Azaz, who will wear the number 20 shirt, is not eligible for tomorrow's Emirates FA Cup match against Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, the Pilgrims are believed to be very close to confirming former England under-20 boss Ian Foster as their new manager.

Director of football Neil Dewsnip has confirmed Argyle carried out three interviews for the head coach role on Wednesday, and said: "We discussed the outcome of those conversations and we think we have got ourselves a candidate that we are very, very pleased with.

"That appointment is going to be a terrific coach and somebody that I look forward to working with extremely soon."