Tony Pulis was made Middlesbrough boss on the 26th of December 2017, less than a week before the January transfer window opened. So, given that Pulis had so little time to assess the squad before the window opened, that may have impacted on the dealings that occurred over the month.
Furthermore, before the season started ex-boss Garry Monk spent around £50 million of Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson’s money. While that may not be much to some clubs, £50 is quite a large amount to spend in one window for a club such as Middlesbrough’s. This may also have impacted on the business Boro could do this January.
This proved to be the case at Boro brought in just three players this window while six left the club. But are the players brought in going to be enough to help Middlesbrough push for promotion this season? And are the players Boro have let go really the ones who should have left?
Here is a look at all the business Middlesbrough managed this January transfer window.
Jack Harrison (loan)
Middlesbrough have loaned Harrison from Manchester City for the remainder of the season. But Harrison had actually just joined City from MLS side New York City. Harrison is an exciting young prospect who could bring a lot to Boro. He can play left wing, attacking midfield and on occasion, he has even played as a centre-forward. A good signing nevertheless.
Muhamed Besic (loan)
The centre midfield position at Middlesbrough has been much talked about during the January transfer window. Both Adam Forshaw and Adlène Guédioura have left Boro this window. And with Lewis Baker seemingly in exile, that left just three centre mids at Boro in the form of Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Grant Leadbitter.
Besic has vast Premier League experience and he has proved he can do it well on that level. This makes Besic a really solid signing for Middlesbrough.
Martin Cranie (undisclosed fee)
Martin Cranie is the only player Middlesbrough have spent any money on this window. While the fee is undisclosed, it is unlikely to be very much. Cranie is also probably the least likely of Boro’s three new boys to excite fans.
Adam Forshaw (£4.59m)
Since signing for Middlesbrough from Wigan back in 2015, Forshaw never really cemented a place in the first team. In Boro’s last promotion push, he played second fiddle to Leadbitter and Clayton, in the Premier League he didn’t cover himself in glory and this season he once again found himself on the outskirts of the squad. He was also unlikely to get game time under Pulis.
Cyrus Christie (£3m)
Christie had joined Middlesbrough just six months earlier as part of Garry Monk’s summer spending. The right-back impressed many a Boro fan during his short stay. And he was perhaps Middlesbrough’s most consistent player in the first half of the season. But due to the change in management, Christie found himself on the bench under Pulis because he is very much an attacking minded full-back whose defensive work could do with some improvement.
Adlène Guédioura (contract terminated)
Guedioura cost Middlesbrough around £3.5m when they signed him a year ago. Since then though he has made just seven appearances for Boro, all of which have been poor. The decision to terminate his contract was not itself a bad one. But losing around £3.5 will be something Boro will want to forget.
Ashley Fletcher (loan)
Fletcher has not impressed at all at Middlesbrough since arriving in the summer from West Ham. However, he is still young. Also, given that he was not going to be a regular starter for Boro, loaning him out was a good idea.
Martin Braithwaite (loan w/ option to buy)
Braithwaite was another of Garry Monk’s summer signings costing Boro around £9m. During his time at Boro, he scored six goals in 21 appearances. While his form had dipped a bit in recent weeks, he was still Middlesbrough’s second top scorer and did look like a very exciting player on his day.
Connor Roberts (loan terminated )
Roberts was a loan signing of Garry Monk’s who made just four appearances under him. So, when Monk was sacked it made sense to terminate the loan.
Overall, given the lack of time Pulis had to assess the squad and the small amount of money he wanted to spend, all of Middlesbrough’s incomings look decent. As far the outgoings, while most made sense, the decision to loan out Braithwaite is one many Boro fans will be scratching their head at.
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