He has also emerged a true utility man as the defender is currently holding his own in Boro's central midfield.
However, Boro are yet to agree a new deal with Bates - whose current deal is set to expire in the summer - contrary to weekend reports which claimed a three-year contract was signed and sealed.
Indeed a host of clubs including the Toffees, Hammers and Trotters are understood to be keeping close tabs on the situation.
Boro have only just opened talks with Bates - who will be free to walk away from The Riverside at the end of the season, although any English club wanting to sign him would have to pay compensation.
"There have been talks, the club (Middlesbrough) has made contact," Bates told the Northern Echo.
"But I'm just pleased to be playing again after all my injury troubles.
"I don't want any distractions and I just want to keep playing until the end of the season."
Stoke v Middlesbro' Half-time/Full-time: Draw / Middlesbro' 7/1