Friday, June 2, 2023

Tony Pulis Linked With Former Player: Right Man To Reinforce Middlesbrough’s Back Line?

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Josh Barker
Middlesbrough FC correspondent for The 4th Official.

With West Brom all but certainly relegated from the Premier League, speculation has begun to mount over the future of some of their players. One of which is 27-year-old defender Craig Dawson. Dawson has been linked with both Middlesbrough and Aston Villa. However, given his former boss, Tony Pulis is at Boro, Dawson may be inclined to move to Teesside. That is of course unless Villa are promoted over Boro.

Regardless of who is promoted though, Middlesbrough should make sure Dawson is on their books, come the start of next season. If Boro were to be promoted, Dawson is a very experienced Premier League centre back. He has played 146 league games for West Brom scoring 12 goals and assisting two in that period. Also, up until this season, West Brom have always had a pretty tight defence. Which shows Dawson can be key to solid defence if under the right boss, such as Tony Pulis.

For example, under Tony Pulis last season, Dawson played 37 league games, in which West Brom conceded 51 goals in 38 games, the best of all the teams outside the top eight. This shows if Boro does go up, Dawson would be the perfect man to secure Boro’s back four in the Premier League.

Of course, if Middlesbrough does not go up Dawson would be a superb signing for them to push for promotion in the forthcoming season. However, whether he would want to drop down to the Championship remains to be seen.

Moreover, Dawson is a versatile defender who is naturally a right back playing 105 career games there. But he can also play centre back where he has played 83 career games. Clearly showing he is more than capable of doing a job there. This is another reason Dawson would a great addition to Boro’s squad. Because currently with Ryan Shotton playing as their main right back, Middlesbrough have just Dael Fry as centre-back cover. While Fry is decent, he is not quite at top Championship level. And regardless of his ability, having one centre back sub is not enough, especially if you are playing in the Championship, which has such a busy fixture list.

Middlesbrough’s centre-back shortage has also come to light recently. As due to Ayala being subbed off against Brentford on Saturday through injury, he could well miss their next game vs Wolves. This would mean Fry would likely start. It would also mean there would be no centre back sub on the bench for Boro. Further showing why they need a man like Dawson in their squad.

Also, as this summer will be Pulis’s first proper transfer window, he will be keen to add his stamp to the squad. And given he knows Dawson so well from his time at West Brom, he would be a great addition as Pulis will already know how he plays, his strengths, weaknesses and how to get the best out of him.

Overall, given his vast Premier Leauge experience, his relationship with Tony Pulis and his ability to play centre-back and right back, Dawson is a player Boro would love to have in their squad for next season. 

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