AITOR Karanka is chuffed that Middlesbrough’s summer-length pursuit of Adam Clayton has finally paid off.
The 25-year-old midfielder has signed from Huddersfield Town for an initial fee of £1.5million with Jacob Butterfield going in the opposite direction.
Clayton is in line to make his debut against his former employers, Leeds United, tomorrow when Boro travel to Elland Road (kick off 12.15pm).
Karanka has repeated his admiration of his newest signing throughout the summer months, claiming that his addition will be beneficial to his midfield.
“I am very happy because he is one of the players I asked the club to sign at the beginning of pre-season,” Karanka smiled.
“We worked hard to bring him here and he is going to improve the squad.
“He knows the league well and is a very good player – an English player as well – who will be a very good signing.
“He can bring something different to the team.”
The decision to trade Clayton for Butterfield will be judged in the coming months: “I changed Butterfield for Clayton because I am expecting more things from Clayton,” he added.
“But we will see if it was the right decision.
“I wish Butts all the best and I’m sure he will do well at Huddersfield.”
Boro have begun the season with two successive wins, the opening day league win against Birmingham and the midweek League Cup victory against Oldham.
A week into the season and Karanka says the team he has at his disposal now is better than the squad he inherited last November.
“I think it’s a different time between then and now because we have been together nine months,” he continued to BBC Tees.
“The players know me now, I know them better and we have a better squad now.
“We are working very well and we are better than last season.”
Performance levels cannot dip against Leeds: “I’m very happy with the performances and attitude but we can’t be complacent because we have won two games.
“We have to work in the same way and know that the next game is difficult.
“The hardest test is always the next game.
“It is a derby and it was my first game when I was here so I know how important it is for the club and for the fans.”
Patrick Bamford, the Chelsea striker, continues to be heavily linked with the Teessiders, with Karanka saying that “a lot of teams want to take him but I prefer not to speak about him.”
Right-back Damie Abella, to be recruited from Osasuna, faces a wait to see if he can make his debut against Leeds with paperwork still needing to be finalised.