Since being sacked by Middlesbrough in March 2017, Aitor Karanka has been rumoured to be taking charge of several clubs. Including Boro’s rivals Sunderland. However, it was Nottingham Forest how managed to secure the services of the ex-Boro boss.
Karanka has taken charge of Nottingham Forest. Who are in a very similar situation to the one Boro were in when Karanka first took charge there. They are currently 14th in the Championship. But they are on a very poor run of form. They are winless in five drawing two and losing three. This is very much how Middlesbrough were doing when Karanka took over them. The Spaniard was Middlesbrough’s first foreign coach and performed a huge turn around at the club.
Middlesbrough were still recovering from Gordon Strachan’s horrible reign as manager and the side was a very poor one. Despite this, Karanka managed to finish 12th with Boro in his first half season in charge. His first full season saw him take Boro to the playoff final were they lost 2-0 to Norwich. His next season saw Boro clinch automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Middlesbrough’s return to the Premier League did not go well, however. Karanka was sacked in March and Boro would be relegated. Despite this, Karanka did some excellent things with Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest fans should be very happy with his appointment.
With this in mind, here are three Middlesbrough players Karanka could sign in order to replicate the success he had with Boro.
Adam Clayton was one of several new signings Karanka made during his first summer transfer window at Middlesbrough. Clayton arrived from Huddersfield in August 2014. Since joining Clayton has been a mainstay in the Middlesbrough side. Especially under Aitor Karanka.
Clayton was a regular starter in both Middlesbrough’s seasons in the Championship as they reached the playoff final and won promotion. He even won Boro player of the season in 2015/16. Clayton was also a regular during their one season in the Premier League.
However, Clayton has struggled to win over Boro’s bosses since Karanka. He had not featured since October under Garry Monk. And since Tony Pulis has taken over, Clayton has continued to struggle for game time. The only appearance he has made under Pulis came as a sub in Middlesbrough’s FA Cup tie with Sunderland.
Given how well Clayton and Karanka worked during Karanka’s time at Boro. And the fact Clayton is seriously out of favour at Middlesbrough, Clayton could well be convinced to rejoin Karanka at Nottingham Forest.
Bamford already has a history with both Nottingham Forest and Aitor Karanka. It was Forest were Bamford began his career before moving to Chelsea in 2012. So, that may give Bamford that extra incentive to join Karanka at Forest.
Furthermore, Patrick Bamford also enjoyed his best season as a player under Karanka at Middlesbrough. Bamford joined Middlesbrough on loan in August 2014 on a season-long loan from Chelsea. This saw Bamford make 38 league appearances for Middlesbrough. In which he scored 17 and assisted five. He also won Championship player of the season for 2014/15.
Since that excellent season on loan at Boro Bamford has struggled to refined that form. He went on loan to Norwich, Burnley and Crystal Palace. But all of those spells ended badly. This eventually lead to Aitor Karanka permanently signing Bamford in January last year. However, given that Boro were struggling for form, an out of form Bamford wasn’t really what they needed.
Bamford has also not exactly been a first-team regular this season for Middlesbrough. He has made 21 appearances, although a lot of those were from the bench. Therefore, given that Bamford was at his best in the Championship under Aitor Karanka, he could well want to link up with him again at his boyhood club.
Adam Forshaw is yet another Karanka signing that helped Boro win promotion to the Premier League. The midfielder joined Boro from Wigan in January 2015 and scored some crucial goals in their promotion-winning season.
However, Forshaw is also finding himself out in the cold this season at Middlesbrough. He has made just 11 appearances this season. All of which came under Garry Monk. Forshaw has yet to feature for Pulis. Given that Pulis wants to trim the Boro squad, Forshaw could well be on his way out this January.
He is a proven Championship midfielder. Plus, Karanka has already signed him once, he knows what he is capable of and he could well go in for him again this January. Forshaw is rumoured to be attracting attention from a number of over clubs including Aston Villa. But given the pre-existing relationship between him and Karanka, Forshaw could well be tempted to join Nottingham Forest.