What will Boro be up to during Euro 2016?
With Euro 2016 upon us, the summer transfer window will probably slow down for a few weeks, as players concentrate on the finals in France.
The Copa America Centenario, is also taking place in the US, meaning players from the South American countries, in addition to the likes of Mexico and USA, are focused on playing for their country.
What could this mean for Middlesbrough, in terms of brining players in for next season? To date, Aitor Karanka has made one move in the transfer market, adding Danish international, Viktor Fischer to the squad. However, if the manager plans on adding anyone else to his squad, prior to the 20th July, time is running out.
Gaston Ramirez, who is available on a free transfer is currently playing for Uruguay in the Copa America. This is a player who could have been snapped up prior to the start of the tournament. If he goes on to impress for Uruguay, other teams will start taking a look and Boro could miss out.
If Karanka has his sights set on anyone who is playing at Euro 2016, it may be considered a mistake to wait until after the tournament. In general, a player’s stock will not fall because of a disappointing tournament for his country. However, interest in a player and his value can certainly rise following an international tournament. Just look at what happened to James Rodriguez after the 2014 World Cup, most clubs will be looking for top betting offers for 2016. While Boro will not be attracting players of that calibre, the same rule applies.
Boro have recently been linked with Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood. The keeper has been in great form, for club and country and could be a starter for Republic of Ireland in France this summer. Any negotiations will stop during the tournament and interest may increase during this time, especially with other Premier League teams looking for competition between the sticks
However, other targets Boro have been linked with, will not be taking part in major international football. Alex Pritchard, Tottenham’s attacking midfielder has been made available by Mauricio Pochettino and this has alerted Karanka. Valued at around £8 million, the 23-year-old has had very limited opportunities at Spurs and played on loan at Brentford last season, scoring 12 goals. Injury cut the loan short and having joined West Bromwich Albion in the second half of the season, Pritchard failed to make an impact.
Another name linked to Boro recently, has been Frenchman, Clement Chantome. The central midfielder has been released by Bordeaux and is also attracting interest from Malaga. Both Chantome and Pritchard are realistic targets but do they bring additional quality to the team?
Strikers, Shane Long and Fernando Llorente on the other hand, do bring quality and would improve the team. Long has great pace and is a good finisher whereas Llorente is strong and powerful, although the Spaniard’s recent form has been questionable. The pair would make a good combination up-front but with the system Karanka likes to play, Llorente may be better suited and it’s highly unlikely both players would be signed.
Transfer activity may slow down during Euro 2016 but there are still plenty of options worth considering, who are not involved, with Llorente being one. Yes, the squad needs additions but to survive in the Premier League, it’s the starting XI which needs to be strengthened. The Premier League season is due to start on the 13th August, that will be the time to start judging Boro’s transfer business.