How close are Middlesbrough to signing new players and when will Marvin Johnson, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Jordan Archer situations be resolved?

Middlesbrough’s 2020/21 season ended in a disappointing way as the Teessiders were beaten 3-0 by Wycombe – but there is still plenty to discuss heading into the summer.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:43 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:43 pm

Boro boss Neil Warnock recently said he wants to sign ‘eight or nine’ new players ahead of next season, as the Teessiders look to challenge for promotion.

Some members of the squad are also nearing the end of their contracts and loan deals.

We take a closer look at some of the big questions and talking points from the Riverside:

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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

How close are Boro to signing new players?

It’s worth noting the summer transfer window doesn’t open until June 9, which is when Boro will be able to do business with other clubs.

Warnock has said he wants to bring players in early, before Boro return for pre-season training at the start of July, and clearly there have already been discussions taking place as the Teessiders look for agreements.

With several players in the EFL nearing the end of their contracts, and now being released, agents and managers will be trying to negotiate moves, so that out of contract players can sign on July 1 after their current deals expire.

While some players will already be looking for a new club, others won’t know what the immediate future holds.

For example, Warnock said last week he was hoping to go and watch Sunderland in the play-offs, following reports that Boro are tracking Charlie Wyke.

Warnock was tight-lipped when asked about the striker, yet Wyke’s situation could depend on the division Sunderland find themselves in.

Boro are also assessing the loan market, where, as we’ve seen before, some players won’t become available until Premier League managers have had a chance to evaluate their own squads.

Warnock will want to get deals done early, yet in some cases that won’t be possible.

When will we know if the players out of contract are staying?

There are three Boro players, Marvin Johnson, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Jordan Archer, who are nearing the end of their contracts.

Warnock was set to chat with all of his players, loan players included, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and said Boro are likely to release a statement later this week about who is staying and who is leaving.

The Boro boss will want to make decisions early so he knows the players he needs to bring in, and also to have a break from what has been a relentless season.

Out of the three aforementioned players, I think there’s an argument that Boro should offer them all at least short-term deals.

Boro also have three players, Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and Marcus Bettinelli, nearing the end of their loan deals, and we’re expecting clarification on them as well.

It seems unlikely that Bettinelli and Kebano, both on loan from Fulham, will return to the Riverside, and the latter has a year left on his contract at Craven Cottage.

As for Bolasie, the winger will be out of contract at Everton and Warnock said a few weeks ago he had spoken with the winger about the situation.

The Boro boss doesn’t think Bolasie will get another Premier League club so it’ll depend on finances and other offers on the table.

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