Middlesbrough FC transfer window Q&A: Boro's summer business assessed and what deals they will look to do next
Just TWO days remain in the transfer window and it looks set to be a busy 48 hours for Middlesbrough.
In a special transfer window Q&A, our Boro writer Joe Nicholson assesses the club’s summer business so far and looks at where the squad needs strengthening ahead of Thursdays 5pm deadline.
Do you think Boro will do any significant business before Thursday's deadline?
Yes, Woodgate has admitted Boro’s squad is still ‘really thin’ and needs strengthening ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
The club have left it close for comfort but appear to be closing in on Charlton right-back Anfernee Dijksteel.
Woodgate hasn’t elaborated on individuals but says deals are bubbling away behind the scenes. Time is running out though and Boro missed out on their transfer targets in the final few days of the January window.
Do you think departures are likely?
Some of the club’s younger players are likely to leave on loan depending on who Boro bring in.
The League One and League Two transfer windows don’t shut until the end of the month so there’s still time to get those deals done.
Woodgate has also said some players may leave if the deals are right for the club, we saw evidence of that when Aden Flint left for Cardiff after a tempting offer was made.
It wouldn’t, therefore, be a surprise if some of the squad’s fringe players depart in the next few days, yet Woodgate has made it clear his key players, the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Darren Randolph and Dael Fry, won’t be going anywhere.
Which areas do Boro need to strengthen?
Full-back was an area where the squad appeared significantly short at the start of the window, yet following the emergence of Hayden Coulson and signing of Marc Bola from Blackpool, Boro now have options on the left side of defence.
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Right-back is an area which still needs addressing though. Jonny Howson has covered the position during pre-season but Boro need a more permanent option and maybe some back-up.
The squad could also do with another centre-back, possibly on loan, following Flint’s move to Cardiff – preferably someone who is comfortable passing out from the back.
Another creative player is also needed as Boro were desperately short of pace and width last season.
Overall, I’d say they still need three or four new players before the window shuts.
What do you make of Boro’s business so far?
The arrivals of Bola and Marcus Browne both look like shrewd signings, especially given that both will improve and address areas where the squad was short.
Boro also needed a back-up goalkeeper to deputise for Randolph so re-signing goalkeeper Tomas Mejias ticks another box.
Even so, Boro’s transfer window as a whole will be defined by the final few days of the window and whether they can address the key areas where they remain short.
Is the Boro squad in a better place than it was this time last year or worse?
Going into last season, Boro still had a lot of experienced players, like Stewart Downing and Grant Leadbitter, who helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in 2016.
The squad isn’t as deep 12 months on but the emergence and progression of younger players, such as Lewis Wing, Dael Fry, Marcus Tavernier and Hayden Coulson, has provided different options.
Like last year there are still areas which need addressing, while the departures of senior players has opened up opportunities for academy graduates to train and play for the first team.