Middlesbrough have endured a tough first half of the season after their seven-year wait to play in the English top flight. It was never going to be easy but after signing some really talented players in the summer, they were touted by many to be around mid-table. That hasn’t been the case, though.
Boro were a pretty solid side in the Championship last season. Aitor Karanka, who was assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, adopted a pretty pragmatic approach and they were tough to break down. The team relied on good defending and the score lines were pretty narrow.
They have used the same approach in the Premier League. They have managed to score just 17 goals this season and even though their defence has been decent, they can’t rely on the same blunt attack in the second half of the season. Adding fresh faces in the attack is imperative if they want to survive the drop or avoid any last day drama. To their credit, they have added Rudy Gestede already.
In a bid to add more creativity to their team, they have been linked with Stoke City attacker Bojan Krkic. The Spaniard has had an injury-ravaged spell at the club but has shown flashes of brilliance every now and then. Stoke City, under Mark Hughes, had an ambitious project and they signed some exciting players under the Welshman. The likes of Afellay, Arnautovic and Shaqiri were flair players who can do all sorts of things with the ball at their fit, but they haven’t been able to maintain the consistency. Bojan is no different.
Bojan rose to prominence as a teenager at Barcelona and was touted to be a superstar in the future. However, lack of consistent game time and injuries forced him to leave the club and he then had a few sub-par loans spells at clubs like AS Roma and AC Milan before moving to Ajax where he had the opportunity to get the basics right. Since his move to Stoke City, he’s looked better but unfortunately, injuries have followed him to England.
If he signs for the club, he could be played behind Alvaro Negredo in a number 10 role. In players like Victor Fischer, Adama Traore and Christian Stuani, they have plenty of attacking ability but neither has been able to nail down a place consistently. Bojan’s strengths are his ability to pick a pass in a tight situation thanks to his technical ability on the ball. He has good pace and when that is coupled with his dribbling ability, you get a really good player when he is at the top of his game.