The difference between January and summer transfer windows for Middlesbrough and Jonathan Woodgate
Back in the summer, Middlesbrough were playing catch up.
Tony Pulis’ departure around two weeks after the season had finished left a void to fill and, after nearly a month of headhunting, Jonathan Woodgate was finally appointed the club’s new head coach.
On June 14, Woodgate was unveiled at Rockliffe Training Ground as Boro laid out a new approach under their first-time boss.
Yet, with the transfer window set to close before the start of the Premier League season on August 8, the Teessiders had less than two months to complete their business.
Some deals, outgoing deals, had already been rubber stamped, as four senior players, including Stewart Downing and John Obi Mikel, left the club following the end of their contracts.
Whether those players would have stayed is another matter, yet their vast experience that wasn’t replaced.
In the end, Boro’s summer window was a disappointing one which left Woodgate short of options when injuries piled up around November’s busy schedule.
Including players who returned to their parent clubs following loan spells, a total of seven senior outfield players left the Riverside after the 2018/19 campaign.
In contrast, only three outfield players arrived on Teesside, and while Anfernee Dijksteel, Marc Bola and Marcus Browne may develop into decent signings, all have struggled to make the step up from League One this season.
Of course there are other reasons behind Boro’s lack of signings, most notably the type of players they can, or can’t afford, due to Financial Fair Play regulations.
That is why the loan market appears a more viable option at this time – hence the arrivals of Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha from Manchester City this month.
Boro have been quick out of the blocks since the start of the January window, and it’s down to months of planning.
Following the signings of Roberts and Nmecha, Woodgate revealed he met with City’s sporting director back in November to get deals done early.
The club aren’t messing around with outgoings, either, with goalkeeper Darren Randolph expected to complete his move to West Ham.
Boro are trying to make sure they complete their business early this month. So far so good.