What Middlesbrough fans can expect in the final week of the January transfer window
We’re into the final seven days of the January transfer window and there’s still unfinished business at Middlesbrough. But what can fans expect ahead of next Friday’s 11pm deadline?
The Teessiders made a fast start to the month after bringing in attacking duo Lukas Nmecha and Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City, yet the club were still playing catch up after failing to address key areas in the summer.
There was always a chance that Jonathan Woodgate’s side would be left worryingly short if they suffered a couple of injury setbacks – just like they did back in November.
Another flurry of injuries has caused similar problems in recent weeks – even if Boro eased relegation fears with an impressive run over the festive period.
Woodgate, though, still hopes the club can make ‘one or two’ more signings this month to bulk up one of the smallest squads in the Championship.
The obvious area which needs strengthening is at centre-back following injuries to George Friend, Ryan Shotton, Dael Fry and Daniel Ayala.
Boro have made a loan approach for former defender Ben Gibson, 27, from Burnley, while Aston Villa’s James Chester, 31, has also been linked.
Both would surely step straight into Boro’s three-man backline given their Championship pedigree and the Teessiders’ injury woes.
Boro are also one of several Championship clubs reportedly interested in Bournemouth’s Jack Simpson, 23, while other available centre-backs are being tracked.
If Boro can land the two signings Woodgate wants, it is likely one of them will be on loan, given the club’s cost-cutting approach in recent transfer windows.
There may also be scope to make a permanent signing too, following the sale of goalkeeper Darren Randolph to West Ham for around £4million.
Boro will also be looking to improve their wide options in the next week, with the squad still short of natural wingers.
If Woodgate continues to operate with wing-backs, he may also need a back-up for Djed Spence on the right – even if Jonny Howson has the ability to play there.
After a strong start to the month on the transfer front, Woodgate will now hope for an equally strong finish in the next few days.