Analyzing the depth and weaknesses of the Middlesbrough side ahead of the summer transfer window

The Middlesbrough team review is underway. Although the transfer window doesn’t officially open until June 10, Chris Wilder has promised many changes to the Boro squad this summer and has worked hard with the club’s recruiting staff in preparation for the summer.

Boro missed the playoffs by one spot and five points last season, and Wilder is now keen to build his squad through the close season to ensure the next term at least does better than that. Automatic promotion back to the Premier League is the ultimate goal, but given the financial disparity that parachute payments create, that won’t be easy.

At the very least, though, Wilder wants to make sure his team is well-equipped for a better promotion job next term, and that’s going to take a lot of work. He has announced the departure of three players at the end of his contract, while four players leave at the end of his loan. So how does the team look now and where are the weaknesses? Position by position we analyze the Boro squad.

READ MORE:Chris Wilder names some of the players he wants to keep at Middlesbrough when the summer rebuild begins

Goalie

It proved to be a troublesome position for Boro this period, as neither Joe Lumley nor Luke Daniels really established himself as a reliable long-term number one. The club are likely to hear offers for both this summer, though given Daniels’ better performances towards the end of the season, they may be inclined to keep him as a substitute.

But signing a new number one seems to be one of the biggest priorities this summer, as young options apparently aren’t quite ready to make that step up yet. Zach Hemming will likely benefit from another loan spell, and Kilmarnock will likely have him back where he would benefit from Scottish Premiership football after helping Killie to promotion last term. Sol Brynn is not far from first-team action, but the pressure and expectations of a team wanting to challenge for the top means it is likely still too soon. After a year out injured, it is unknown where Brad James is after an encouraging spell at Hartlepool United the previous season.

Current Options: Joe Lumley Luke Daniels

Possible youth calls: Sol Brynn, Zach Hemming, Brad James

center back

Wilder likes to play with three center backs and options are slim now with the release of Sol Bamba and Lee Peltier. Anfernee Dijksteel, Dael Fry and Paddy McNair had all three roles cemented this season when fit, but Wilder has already made clear one change he would like to make here this summer. Preferring a natural balance, Wilder would like a left-handed player to fill the center-back position on the left side.

That would leave McNair and Dijksteel vying for the right side spot in what would be the kind of depth and competition Wilder craves. Beyond that, there’s Nathan Wood, who is desperate to impress and try to become a first-team option, while Grant Hall still has a year left on his contract with Boro, although he struggled to make a big impact last season. last season due to injuries and competition. for places

With so much work to be done, The Boro Breakdown Podcast recently discussed the possibility of Marc Bola becoming left center back next season as well. He is a role he has played well previously when he was at three, with his strengths naturally more defensive, but with capabilities to play from behind. While Wilder will want to recruit a left-back, could Bola end up being the competition after failing to convince the left-back?

Current Options:Anfernee Dijksteel, Dael Fry, Paddy McNair, Grant Hall, Nathan Wood

Possible youth calls:jack robinson

rear wing

Isaiah Jones absolutely excelled in this role, while the opposite flank proved problematic. Neither Neil Taylor nor Marc Bola offered the same kind of attacking momentum as Jones, while the lack of a suitable alternative to Jones on the right showed in the latter stages as he played with less than 100% form – his first full season in senior. level passing bill. It was telling that Wilder ended the season playing Marcus Tavernier at left-back, although in the long run he is likely to want to regain his energy and legs in midfield, so a new left-back is surely a priority.

Versatile players make signing a backup less important, though it would be wise to at least have a natural alternative to Jones if possible. However, that alternative could already be in the club. Djed Spence will be sold for big money, but Darnell Fisher should be back in form this summer and could impress in pre-season after missing all of last term, while freshly signed to a new contract youngster Joe Gibson could hope to use friendlies Of summer. to impress after looking great in the FA Cup at Mansfield. On the other hand, Bryant Bilongo is also an exciting young prospect.

Hayden Coulson returns to the club this summer also after another frustrating season on loan, first at Ipswich and then at Peterborough, leaving his future uncertain. However, it’s worth keeping in mind because he actually looked pretty good last summer and he was only loaned out due to his own desire to go play. Considering how positive he was when he first broke through to the first team, and how suitable he could be for Wilder’s attacking game, could he force a return on him this summer?

Current Options:Isaiah Jones, Marc Bola, Darnell Fisher, Hayden Coulson

Possible youth calls:Joe Gibson Bryant Bilongo

central midfielder

Wilder regularly called midfield the biggest positive of his time in charge so far and it’s easy to see why. The three-man midfield of Jonny Howson, Matt Crooks and Marcus Tavernier took to the new boss’ ideas immediately and helped Boro dominate games and dictate the pace. The problems that cost them a play-off place would ultimately be at either end of the field, where they conceded sloppy goals and didn’t score enough. But in the middle of the park, the aforementioned regular trio largely dominated games, while Riley McGree was drafted in January as an exciting option.

Martín Payero struggled in his first season at the club, but he is a great talent who will hopefully continue to grow as he acclimatizes to football in this country. Caolan Boyd-Munce signed as a draft in January and showed his potential at Mansfield, while Hayden Hackney returns this summer from a positive loan spell at Scunthorpe despite the team’s struggles. the club too bring Kamil Conteh from Watford too, and while he could be seen as more for the future, he already has first-team and international cap experience.

The only uncertainty this summer surrounds Howson. With no contract, he has been offered a new contract despite the fact that he recently turned 34, which is a reward for his excellent form during the campaign. But so far, there has been no communication to suggest that he has decided to stay, as he is presumably weighing his options. Wilder wants reliable, strong characters galore next term, which is why he’s so keen on keeping the Boro captain for another year.

Current Options:Matt Crooks Marcus Tavernier Riley McGree Martin Payero

Contract extension offered:jonny howson

Possible youth calls:Caolan Boyd-Munce, Kamil Conteh, Hayden Hackney

Striker

It will undoubtedly be the biggest challenge of Boro’s hiring after three forwards left this summer with little repercussion. It leaves Boro with just two veteran forwards, one of whom is 19-year-old Josh Coburn. Chuba Akpom will return to the club and could force him back into the plans after a decent spell on loan at PAOK, but he is still in the running from him to prove that he is a prolific goalscorer that Boro will need. That midfielder Crooks finished as top scorer last season says it all. Uche Ikpeazu will return, but he is unlikely to feature in Wilder’s plans.

Boro is likely to need at least two centre-forwards this summer and Wilder is likely to need more goals from his strikers, but signing proven and established strikers is never cheap or easy. That will be the challenge for the recruiting team to try to provide that in any way, while youngster Cal Kavanagh will no doubt be hoping to make an impression in pre-season after his first loan spell and two impressive scoring seasons at youth level.

Current Options:Duncan Watmore, Josh Coburn, Chuba Akpom, Uche Ikpeazu

Possible youth calls:Cal Kavanagh

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