Kalas and Ramirez - Time to act fast
During the course of the successful 2015/16 Championship campaign, Middlesbrough made use of the loan system on several occasions.
The majority brought in were on season long loans and came down from the Premier League, in search of regular first team football. There was also a handful of players, such as Michael Agazzi and Kike Sola, who joined from abroad.
Some of these players, such as Italian goalkeeper, Agazzi, had no impact on the promotion push at all, failing to make a single appearance for Boro during his loan spell. However, there were others, such as Tomas Kalas and Gaston Ramirez, who had a large part to play in securing automatic promotion for Boro.
Kalas joined from Premier League club Chelsea, in a bid to bolster the defensive line. The Czech Republic international was signed by Chelsea for £5.2 million from Sigma Olomouc in 2010 but has struggled to secure a place in the first team at Stamford Bridge. In the 16 months Kalas has been with Boro, he has played over 40 games, making him an integral part of the defensive set-up and was battling Emilio Nsue for a starting place at right-back this season. With the season now over, Kalas has already spoken about how he would be open to a permanent move to Boro, especially now Premier League football is secured. It’s unclear just how Kalas would perform in the Premier League, having only made two starts for Chelsea but the defender has certainly proven to be an important player for Boro in the Championship. The question is, would the funds required to sign Kalas permanently, be better spent elsewhere?
A more realistic permanent signing may come in the form of Ramirez, who has recently been released by Southampton. The Uruguay international joined Southampton for a club record fee of £12 million in 2012 but failed to cement a regular place in the team. During his loan spell at Boro this season, Ramirez made 18 appearances, 15 of them being starts, scoring 7 goals and creating 4 goals for his team-mates.
Towards the end of the season, Ramirez was fantastic and this form has earned him a recall to the Uruguay national team, despite the nasty looking injury suffered against Brighton. However, his form seems to have alerted a number of other clubs around Europe, including Europa League winners, Sevilla. Ramirez is certainly an exciting player to watch when in full flow and could provide much needed creativity in the final third, against tough Premier League opposition. Available as a free transfer, it seems like a no-brainer, with only wages being a possible stumbling block. If Boro do want to make Ramirez a permanent signing ahead of next season, Aitor Karanka will have to act fast.
Other loan singings, who played a decent amount of games for Boro during the season, include Ritchie De Laet, Diego Fabbrini and Fernando Amorebieta. Italian midfielder Fabbrini, has already signed for Birmingham City and Amorebieta’s loan was cut short during the season, effectively ruling them both out as permanent signings. De Laet on the other hand, could be an option but would have to be considered a squad player, rather than someone who would guarantee good performances in the Premier League.
With Viktor Fischer having been brought in from Ajax, Karanka is clearly looking at the transfer market and will not be afraid to act. Both Tomas Kalas and Gaston Ramirez, have to be names near the top of his list.