DYLAN Bahamboula is back at Latics after Middlesbrough passed on signing the Boundary Park star.

The Congo international has been on trial with the Teessiders for the last week and played 45 minutes of their friendly against Bishop Auckland.

Boro have elected against pursuing a deal – reported to be worth an initial £150,000 with a further £150,000 should Neil Warnock’s men win promotion – with the 26-year-old returning to Latics training today.

Boss Keith Curle insists he is a big fan of Bahamboula’s talents despite suggestions he recommended the player to Warnock, and says the fans’ favourite should not be downhearted by missing out on a move to the Championship.

“We all know my relationship with Neil (Warnock) and the conversations never went any further than having a look at Dylan,” Curle said. 

“In my opinion and most people’s, the lad has got ability. His game understanding needs to improve but he has immense raw talent and is one of the standout individuals certainly in this division. I love Dylan when I see him facing the opposition’s goal but now we need to keep supporting him.

“Dylan was invited to go up to Middlesbrough and they looked after him superbly well and made him very welcome which is a sign of an excellent football club.

“Dylan gave a very good account of himself but they just felt where they’re at now and how they want to get promoted, he wouldn't get the right amount of game time for his development and career.

“We know a number of clubs will continue to monitor Dylan's progress and he’s had the message he’s getting attention for what he’s doing on the pitch which is nice for any player.

“He was back in training with us today and will feature in our upcoming friendlies. Not being selected after a trial is not a disappointment for Dylan, it just wasn’t quite right at this particular moment in time. He’s full of energy and enjoyed seeing everyone again.

“I know the supporters will be pleased as they’ll get to see him in action soon, but let’s be clear he was never going to be given away. There’s a value as a football club we have placed on Dylan, like we do for others, and he is still very much an Oldham player.”

Bahamboula is now expected to be involved in Latics’ friendly against Wigan on Saturday.