From Gaston Ramirez to Afonso Alves: Middlesbrough's best and worst January signings

The annual season-changing alterations are within sight and Jonathan Woodgate will almost certainly be looking to dip into the transfer market in January in an attempt to restart Boro’s struggling season.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:12 pm
Middlesbrough signed Gaston Ramirez in January 2016.
Middlesbrough signed Gaston Ramirez in January 2016.

Ahead of the mid-season window, we look at the five best and worst January window recruits for the Teessiders.

BEST

Doriva - Free transfer

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The Brazilian was signed by Steve McClaren in January 2003 but didn’t make his debut until April 5, 2003 in a 3-0 home win over West Brom.

In his first full season at the club, Doriva started in the 2004 Carling Cup Final as Middlesbrough won their first major trophy in 128 years, with a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Millenium Stadium.

Gaston Ramirez - Free, short-term contract

On January 26, 2016, Ramirez joined Boro on loan until the end of the season, when his Southampton contract was due to expire.

Under Aitor Karanka, he scored seven goals in 15 appearances and was a fans' favourite while at the Riverside and, as a short-term solution, the Uruguayan proved to be a masterclass.

Mark Schwarzer - £2.5m from Bradford

Schwarzer is the only non-Brit to have made more than 500 Premier League appearances (making him the highest-appearing non-Brit in the Premier League's history).

When he played in Boro’s 1-0 victory over Portsmouth on December 29, 2007, the Aussie became the Premier League’s longest-serving foreigner at one-club, surpassing Dennis Bergkamp’s record of 315 matches, after Schwarzer made 446 appearances in all competitions.

Daniel Ayala - £350,000 from Norwich

Although he first joined the club in October 2013, the move wasn’t made permanent until January 2014. The Spaniard joined Boro for a fee believed to be £350,000 on a 42-month deal.

Ayala has since become a key figure in the Boro squad making over 190 appearances in the six seasons he’s been at the club.

During his time at the Riverside, Ayala won a place in the 2015-16 PFA Championship Team of the Year as well as winning the PFA Championship Fan’s Player of the Year in the same season.

Adam Forshaw - £2.4m from Wigan Athletic

The 28-year-old joined Boro on for an undisclosed fee in January 2015, believed to be in the region of £2.4million.

Forshaw made over 100 appearances after joining from Wigan, in which Boro clinched automatic promotion to the Premier League during the 2015/16 campaign.

WORST

Afonso Alves - €20 million from Heerenveen

On January 31, 2008, Boro broke their transfer record to prise the striker out of Heerenveen.

The move started brightly with Alves scoring six in 11 games, including a hat-trick in a famous 8-1 win over Manchester City.

He couldn’t replicate that form the season after, though, scoring just four league goals as Boro were ultimately relegated before the striker moved to Al-Sadd for £7 million.

Michael Ricketts - £3.5 million from Bolton

Having impressed during his time at Bolton, Ricketts was brought to the Riverside in 2003 shortly after he made his England debut.

The striker could never find the goalscoring touch, though, netting just four times in 39 games.

Lee Dong-Gook - Free Transfer from Pohang Steelers

Having enjoyed a relatively successful career at Pohang Steelers in the K-League, Boro opted to take a punt signing the striker on a free transfer.

Lee lived up to his price tag as he struggled to adapt to English football. He failed to score a league goal and found the net just twice in 23 appearances in all competitions.

Jordan Rhodes - £10.7 million from Blackburn

Rhodes came to the Riverside as a direct replacement for departing striker Kike.

He started slowly but ultimately had a fairly average start to life at Boro, scoring six goals in 18 games as the club were promoted back to the Premier League.

Rhodes couldn’t find a goalscoring knack in the top flight and made six goalless appearances and was ultimately replaced by Alvaro Negredo.

Rhodes left the club in February 2017 when he joined Sheffield Wednesday in a loan move that was eventually made permanent at the end of the season.

Lee Miller - £600,000 from Aberdeen

Joining in the winter of 2010, Miller moved to Boro in order to link back up with Gordon Strachan who had worked with him at Celtic.

Yet he never broke through into a regular starter, playing just 13 times for the club in three years and never broke his goal scoring duck.

Loan spells at Notts County and Scunthorpe United followed before Miller left the club permanently to join Carlisle United.