Since the end of the Championship season and Boro’s long-awaited return to the Premier League was confirmed, the club have been linked with a number of players.
The club are now on the lookout for new signings and since the celebrations died down, a name from almost every position is supposedly on the club’s radar. However, the one position that has caused the most debate has been who should play in between the sticks.
Should Boro start the season without signing a new goalkeeper, the club would have Dimi Konstantopoulos, Tomas Mejias and Connor Ripley fighting for the number 1 jersey. However, it isn’t very likely that the club will start the season with these three. The club are clearly on the lookout for a new ‘keeper with Kenneth Vermeer, Keiren Westwood and George Long all reportedly on Aitor Karanka’s radar and, given the step up in divisions, adding a new shot stopper should be high on Boro’s to-do list.
Ripley is likely to go out on loan again and Karanka has shown in his time with the club that he prefers to have three senior goalkeepers fighting for the one spot. But, whoever arrives at the Riverside this summer, they should not be automatically installed into the starting XI – as some fans have suggested.
Dimi’s rise since he joined the club as back-up to Jason Steele in 2013 has been well publicised and his performances since then have endeared him to Boro fans.
Last season, the 37-yer-old kept 22 clean sheets and conceded just 31 goals in 46 Championship outings. He also came within seconds of breaking the Championship’s clean sheet record in January before a last-minute Wes Burns snatched that accolade away from him.
While next season is a step up and our defensive record probably won’t be as outstanding as it has been in the last two seasons, the Greek goalkeeper’s record ensures that it should be him that starts in between the sticks on the opening day of the 2016/17 season.
Yes, Middlesbrough should sign a goalkeeper this summer. Yes, he should have the quality to come in and be able to be the club’s number 1 straight away. But, Dimi has earned his chance over the past two years and Karanka should be starting the season with him in goal.
There are very few games when Dimi has cost us points or even goals with his displays and he has been a match-winner for the club more often than not . Dimi’s record in the last two seasons speaks for itself and while there are some weaknesses in his game, as with all goalkeepers, there is no reason why he can’t be Boro’s number 1 in the Premier League.