The pulling power of Aitor Karanka now in full flow
Thursday afternoon was an exciting one for Boro fans as the club confirmed the arrival of serial winner Victor Valdes on a two-year deal, sending supporters into meltdown on Facebook and Twitter.
Valdes is a huge signing for the club. Just four years ago, he was part of Spain’s Euro 2012 winning squad and his career has been filled with trophies at both club and international level.
Shortly after the transfer was confirmed, reports then emerged that Aitor Karanka was then confident of sealing a deal for Neven Subotic. Just like Valdes, the Serbian defender would be a massive coup for the club as he has long been seen as a world-class defender who has two Bundesliga titles to his name.
Subotic, like Valdes, has fallen away slightly in the last couple of seasons and finds himself slightly out of favour at Borussia Dortmund, but that wouldn’t make his transfer any else a surprise.
These deals, along with the other big names that Boro have been linked with this summer, show just how much the manager is a factor when players are considering a move to Teesside.
Karanka is very highly-rated in the game, and particularly in his own country, and sometimes Boro fans seem to forget that. A lot of players will opt for a move to the Riverside because they see it as an opportunity to work with one of the best young managers in the game at the moment.
Indeed, there were reports prior to Bernardo Espinoza’s arrival that he was set to choose Boro as he felt that working with Karanka would be a great opportunity.
Of course, there are other factors that attract players to the club. The fact that they are now playing Premier League football gives players the chance to showcase their talents in one of the best divisions in the world, as well as a healthy financial package, but the influence of Karanka should not be underestimated.
The Xavi interview in which he famously declared his adoration for the club duo to the Karanka connection is an example of how a lot of players, particularly those of Spanish descent, feel about the Boro boss. The chance to work with him is a fantastic opportunity for a lot of players and that’s one reason why Boro are able to attract some big names.
Of course, a lot of credit should also go to Steve Gibson and his recruitment team, but having a manager who big names are keen to work for is an advantage that, at times, supporters take for granted.