Boro's new faces
With another gruelling Championship season starting today, many questions remain with a largely new look Boro going into the opener at Molineux against fellow big spenders Wolves.
Gary Monk and Steve Gibson have certainly wasted no time investing in the playing squad with around £45m spent as it stands, with more likely to come in the next week or so. That said, let's examine some of the new faces that have arrived this summer.
Certainly, an eye-brow raiser of a signing, as from the sounds of it the Danish international had Premier League options as well as interest from Italy and France.
Already Martin seems to have made a connection with the fans with his candid approach to Twitter, regularly chatting with fans. The other day he seemed honoured to have been given the No10 shirt and tweeted a picture of Juninho, always a nice touch to see players doing their research on the club.
But what matters is what Braithwaite does on the pitch and from watching him against Augsburg last week, he looks like the sort of player we were crying out for last season. Technically gifted, fluid with his movement and floating into awkward spaces between attack and midfield and topping the performance off with a very well taken strike. As we know, last season in the final third with Negredo, Stuani, Downing or Adama it was far too static or predictable. Braithwaite seems like the antidote to this and I'm really excited to see what he does this season.
Asombalonga is a player at Championship level I've long admired, he seems to be a great balance between pace and power which should add further dynamism to Boro's attacking edge. The fee is very high but at the same time, I think Britt has more to offer to the team than let's say a Jordon Rhodes, Rhodes needs good service in order to sniff out chances whereas as Britt (who is also a very good poacher) does have the capability to run at defenders.
Just over a year ago, Britt suffered a horrendous knee injury which not only ended his season but also potentially threatened his career. To not only come back from that but to also resume at a prolific level shows the measure of the man, the team will certainly need big characters this season.
A surprise choice for many fans as Fletcher seemed destined for another loan spell in either the Championship or League 1, but Monk is obviously a huge fan of the former Manchester United striker and opted for a permanent signing.
From what I've seen of Fletcher, he looks very much in a similar mould to fellow United graduate Marcus Rashford. After watching him against Augsburg, he looked full of running and intelligently set up Forshaw for a simple tap in.
Experienced at both Championship and Premier League level, Howson is a welcome addition to what should be a very strongly contested central midfield area.
Leadbitter in the past has scored a decent amount of goals from midfield, but still, it's an area that could definitely be improved seeing as Clayton and Forshaw aren't likely to chip in with many. Howson will be more on the front foot than the other two and with Gaston's transfer to Sampdoria, he could easily be moved into a No10 role if need be. Howson's strengths are his range of passing and the eye for a spectacular strike, a welcome addition.
Cyrus Christie is a player I always liked whenever Boro played Derby along with Will Hughes and Tom Ince.
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Defensively I'm still not 100% convinced by Christie and when I watched him against Augsburg, some of my concerns were still very much there. But, what he does offer superbly is pace, power and great crossing ability too which should benefit Assombalonga. The question is can both Adama and Christie be on the same side, sure going forward it would frighten the life out of most left sides in the league but it could also be a potential weak point.