Since Garry Monk took charge at Middlesbrough, he has been determined to sign a new goalkeeper. Within the past month, Boro have bid for Sheffield Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood. Wednesday turned down Middlesbrough’s bid.
The Teessider’s then turned their interest to Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. After Johnstone spent time on loan at Aston Villa last season, Middlesbrough were impressed with the young keeper and wanted to sign him. However, Johnstone now looks to be linking back up with Championship side Aston Villa.
Middlesbrough then went after Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow. Darlow had an impressive season with Newcastle last time out. He played 34 Championship games, keeping 13 clean sheets in that time. Furthermore, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has been looking elsewhere for a keeper with Manchester City keeper Joe Hart one of Rafa’s targets.
This would suggest Darlow is surplus to requirements and that Boro should easily be able to get him. However, Middlesbrough’s bid for Karl was rejected. Largely because Middlesbrough’s offer was not all up front with much of the deal coming in add-ons. Because of this, Darlow now looks to be moving elsewhere with Reading the current favourites to land the Newcastle keeper.
Middlesbrough are putting all this time and effort into finding and bidding on keepers. When in reality they should be focusing on other areas of the pitch. For example, Boro’s attacking midfield situation is a bit of a mess and should be a priority.
This is because Viktor Fischer has already left to join Mainz. Stewart Downing has been told he can leave. Gaston Ramirez’s future is still very unclear after his spat with ex-manager Aitor Karanka in January this year. =
Also, Adama Traore could possibly be leaving Boro with Newcastle the latest Premier League club to show interest. So, if all of those wingers leave and it’s possible they all could, Middlesbrough would have one first team player in Patrick Bamford to play left wing, centre attacking midfield and right midfield.
So you would think that instead of focusing on signing a keeper, Monk would be showing a lot more interest in Boro’s most vulnerable spot, the attacking midfield.
You also have to ask the question, why is Monk so desperate to sign a new keeper? Middlesbrough have two perfectly good keepers who are more than capable of doing well in the Championship.
Dimi and Connor Ripley are both still at Boro and are both good keepers. Dimi, for example, just signed a new deal with Boro so is available for next season. Also, when Middlesbrough were last in the Championship, Dimi was one of, if not the best keeper in that league.
In the 2015/16 season when Boro were promoted, Dimi was Boro’s main keeper. He played all 46 of Middlesbrough’s league games and kept 22 clean sheets. This was the most in the league. Middlesbrough also conceded the least goals in the league that season, in no small part due to Dimi’s great keeping.
The season before that Middlesbrough reached the playoff final. Dimi was Middlesbrough’s main keeper this season as well. Guest what? Once again Dimi kept 22 clean sheets in 43 matches, including the playoffs and once again 22 clean sheets was the best in the league and once again Middlesbrough conceded the least goals in the Championship that season.
So in all seriousness, what is wrong with Dimi? Granted he is 38 and didn’t play much last season. But with such an impressive Championship record why is he not being given the chance to be Boro’s number one again?
Also, Middlesbrough have 24-year-old Connor Ripley to play as well. Ripley spent last season on loan at League One side Oldham Athletic. He played 46 league games for Oldham and kept 18 clean sheets.
This was not only a joint best Oldham record. But also the most clean sheets kept in League One last season. This becomes doubly impressive when you realise that Oldham did not do well in League One last season. In fact, they finished 17th. So, for Ripley to be the best keeper in League One last season while at a poor side, shows how good he is.
Therefore, as Ripley has proved he is better than League One surely he should be given a chance to do it in the Championship? He is 24 now and if Boro does not start to give him a chance soon, they may as well sell him.
But either way, Middlesbrough have two perfectly good keepers to play next season. Therefore, Monk needs to stop wasting so much time bidding on keepers and focus more on Middlesbrough’s attack. This is by far the area that needs improving the most.
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