Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate will not pressure Mark Viduka into signing a new deal despite the striker being out of contract in the summer.
The 31-year-old Australia international has been linked with a host of clubs on a free transfer in the summer including Boro's north-east rivals Newcastle United.
Southgate has revealed he has yet to hold formal talks with Viduka over a new contract but would like to keep the former Celtic and Leeds United hitman at the Riverside Stadium.
"I have spoken with Mark and he is aware that I would very much like him to be here next season," said Southgate.
"His performances this year have been excellent. We missed him greatly when he was out injured and I think it is the right thing for us to keep him here.
"Of course, when you come towards the last few months of your contract, there are other issues for him to think about.
"But he seems to be enjoying his football - he is playing very well, which suggests to me that he is enjoying it.
"I am not rushing him into any sort of decision. It is right he has a think about things."
Meanwhile, Southgate has admitted there hasn't yet been any interest in unwanted duo Massimo Maccarone and Gaizka Mendieta.
Boro's club record signing Maccarone and former Spain international Mendieta have both been strongly linked with transfer window departures.