Aitor Karanka has identified James Chester as an important defensive target and wants to land his man before the Saturday showdown with Stoke. Middlesbrough have surprised one and all with their intent in the transfer window as they went about smashing expectations one after the other. Many people had expected Aitor Karanka to chiefly stick with the squad of players who had won promotion in the first place. But Boro seemed determined to prolong their stay in the top-tier of English football and Karanka subsequently raided his native Spain which accounted for a large chunk of his transfer business.
He targeted 6’1 Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon who had made the most number of tackles last season in Ligue 1. Also added to the squad were Bernardo Espinosa and Viktor Fischer who will fight for a place in the starting line-up. But the double transfer which really emphasized their intent was when they signed Victor Valdes and Alvaro Negredo. The World Cup and Champions League winner will line up between the sticks thus giving the miserly Boro defence a leadership of a different mettle altogether. The Riversiders will hope he is able to rediscover the form prior to his Manchester United stint. And the signing of Negredo also bolstered their striking line-up and has added to the club’s image as well.
While they have sufficiently covered their bases in the attacking area and the signing of De Roon has also bolstered their central midfield, ironically Karanka has been troubled by the area of the field which had got them the maximum recognition in the Championship. Boro conceded 31 goals, the least amongst all the teams and this very achievement was the cornerstone of their success.
But they needed a couple of addition to address the injury issues and also to add depth to cope up with the demanding nature of the League. They failed in their quest to sign Neven Subotic as the Borussia Dortmund defender was unable to pass his medical. And recent reports suggest they have identified Welsh centre-back James Chester as an ideal candidate to provide solidity and depth to their back-line.
James Chester has been often played out of position at West Brom which has frustrated the player and he is open to a move away. He made only 9 appearances last term and though Pulis considers him as a utility player he is not guaranteed a starting spot. Chester had a good Euros where he helped his team progress to the semis and his performances have seemingly reminded clubs of his ability.
Middlesbrough could do with his tackling ability and having played at the highest level he would add much needed experience to them.