Boro are understood to have made contact with the Trotters about the prospect of re-signing Wheater, who they sold to Bolton in 2011.
The Teessider has played just 35 games since his switch and a move back to his hometown club is likely to appeal.
Middlesbrough have prioritised bolstering their attacking options, but they are also looking at adding a new defender.
Boro are also aware that Wigan are hovering around their captain Rhys Williams and are believed to have snubbed an approach from the Latics.
A deal for the Australian cannot be ruled out, so Boro know that they cannot be left short and are now monitoring Wheater's situation.