What Middlesbrough fans can expect in the January transfer window
Middlesbrough need to make signings during this month’s transfer window – that is clear for all to see. But what can fans expect in the next few weeks?
Unfortunately, the days of spending £5-10million on a marquee signing appear to be a thing of the past at the Riverside.
Head coach Jonathan Woodgate has been quick to mention the EFL’s Financial Fair Play regulations in recent weeks, while Boro’s recruitment model has altered in the last 12 months.
Back in the summer, the Teessiders attempted to bring in younger players for smaller fees, citing the club’s long-term vision as they look to rebuild.
Boro made three outfield signings at the start of the season, and while Anfernee Dijksteel, Marcus Browne and Marc Bola have struggled since making the step up from League One, it should be remembered they are all still young.
It may seem underwhelming for supporters who witnessed the signings of Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes just over three years ago, yet Boro are shopping in a different market these days.
The Teessiders may attempt to sign another promising youngster on a permanent deal this month, yet Woodgate and his recruitment staff will also be keeping a close eye on the loan market.
Boro may be planning for the long-term but, despite an impressive run of results over the festive period, the squad remains desperately thin.
Back in November, the situation almost reached crisis point when Woodgate was forced to promote several under-23 players to simply make up his matchday squad.
Some of those academy graduates have flourished this season, in particular full-backs Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson who have looked more than capable at Championship level. Others, though, will need more time to develop.
The other factor to consider is players leaving the club this month.
Woodgate has previously said Boro don’t need to sell, but with seven first-teamers out of contract at the end of the season there is bound to be interest.
There has also been speculation over Darren Randolph’s future, with former club West Ham reportedly keen to re-sign the goalkeeper.
Woodgate, though, will be desperate to hold onto his prized assets.