After a particularly tense press conference Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka seemed less than impressed with the people behind the scenes at Boro, who deal with transfers. Karanka felt that the squad has not been significantly improved and that he will do his best to keep Middlesbrough up, but hardly sounded sure of himself. Naturally these kind of comments are very concerning to Boro fans and with deadline day tomorrow this goal shy side are in desperate need of some more creativity. So have Middlesbrough had a disastrous transfer window so far?
Firstly lets address Karanka’s comments that the squad has not been strengthened at all. The only first team incomings have been strikers Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford. These players are essentially like for like replacements for David Nugent (who left to go to Derby County) and Jordan Rhodes, who is expected to join Aston Villa or Sheffield Wednesday before the end of the month. I would argue that Gestede is a capable backup to Negredo and Bamford has an excellent record here, plus he’s more versatile than Nugent and Rhodes. However its clear these players are not massive upgrades, and right now Boro need some massive upgrades in attack.
Middlesbrough have had 4 main targets this window however is it really the club’s fault that they could not secure these targets? Gerard Deulofeu had an offer from AC Milan so it was always going to be a struggle to get him to chose Teesside over Milan. Hull refused to sell Robert Snodgrass to a fellow relegation rival, and even if they had accepted Boro’s bid, Snodgrass was always more likely to chose West Ham, who can pay bigger wages and can almost guarantee Premier League football next season. Jese Rodriguez clearly wanted a move back home to Las Palmas, and it seems to me that PSG used our interest to up Las Palmas wage contribution. Finally Bojan was only willing to join the club on loan, again as Boro cannot guarantee Premier League survival, and Stoke refused to loan Bojan out to fellow Premier League clubs, so another non-starter.
Its not a complete disaster that Boro did not secure any of these targets, however it is very disappointing. What would be a disaster is Gaston Ramirez leaving the club. Its no secret that the Uruguayan has handed in a transfer request but he absolutely cannot be allowed to leave, he’s by far and away Middlesbrough’s most creative player, in a side with barely any creativity. Ramirez needs to get his head down and help the club survive, and then he can move on in the summer if he so desires. We’ve seen Karanka get want away players firing again, such as Albert Adomah last season.
This window has been disappointing, but things could still turn around on deadline day. Calling this window a disaster is simply too far. In the mean time all we as fans can do is get behind the team and hopefully we can beat West Brom tomorrow.
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