Friday, June 2, 2023

Middlesbrough Want This Two-Time Champions League Winner: Can He Solve Their Goal-Scoring Woes?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Middlesbrough got their long-awaited promotion back to the Premier League this season. The Teesside club had to wait for seven long years for getting their place back in the top tier of English football. More than half the season has transpired already so far and Boro’s showings has plenty to be desired. 19 points from 20 games is no way good enough to claim that they will be safe by the end of the season. So, what do they need?

Well, Boro’s defensive performances this season have been top notch and it’s pretty clear that Aitor Karanka learnt a lot from Jose Mourinho while assisting him at Real Madrid. The Teessiders have conceded just 22 goals so far this campaign which is an impressive figure for a team who are placed 16th in the League table. Only five teams have conceded lesser or equal goals and all of them are in top six. The department that has let Karanka’s side down is their attack. Only 17 goals scored so far, they are jointly the worst attacking side in the Premier League this season along with Hull City.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Bojan Krkic of Stoke City celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Stoke City at Olympic Stadium on November 5, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

So, it is as clear as daylight that Karanka’s agenda in the January transfer window is to sharpen his blunt attack. They have already signed Rudy Gestede from Aston Villa but their attack still needs bolstering considering that Jordan Rhodes might be on his way out. Meanwhile, reports are surfacing that Boro are monitoring the situation of Bojan Krkic at Stoke City who faced the wrath of his manager Mark Hughes after his woeful performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup on last Saturday.

Well, this could be a brilliant deal for Boro which could give their attack a whole new dimension. Alvaro Negredo has struggled for consistency this season but a big reason behind that is that he always had to come deep to create opportunities for the team after getting frustrated with not getting the right deliveries. Bojan’s addition will ensure that Negredo will get the creativity behind him. Bojan, Ramirez and Negredo- could be a deadly trio which can deliver the fans much better times in near future.

Bojan is still only 26 and has played for clubs like Barcelona, Milan, Roma and Ajax before his Stoke City days. The La Masia graduate has won a slew of trophies during his career which includes two Champions Leagues. Such quality and experience will be a welcome addition at the Riverside Stadium. If Boro can pull this deal off, it will be one hell of a deal for them.

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