A centre-back, creative midfielder and winger are still targets for Boro before Thursday, and that sentence is one that is all too familiar for fans. This is the third consecutive window that Boro’s recruitment team have been on the search for a creative midfielder and a winger, and the last two did not work out as planned.
Last summer, Adama Traore joined the club and while his blistering pace is an obvious strength, no goals and just two assists in a year at the club is a terrible return for a winger that cost a reported £7m.
Rumours are he could be one of few to head out the door at Rockcliffe and if Boro do manage to negotiate a €15m fee for a winger with those stats, it’ll be good business. However, it does leave Monk desperately short on the wings.
He’s one of two recognised wingers at the club and there are some question marks over Stewart Downing’s capability to play on the wing given his lack of pace, so a new winger would be essential if Traore was to leave.
Boro are likely to merge their need for a creative spark and a winger together, although if Brentford’s Jota is indeed the clubs top target, his talent and eye for something special would be wasted out wide.
Unlike the previous two windows, Boro have the firepower and there isn’t the need to sign a big money striker in the final few days but there’s only so much they can do on their own.
If rumours are to be believed, Boro are hoping to bring in Jota, Ryan Shotton from Birmingham and Ryan Kent on loan from Liverpool. If all those deals could get over the line before Thursday, then Boro fans will feel a lot more positive after a disappointing home draw to Preston at the weekend.
At the moment though, it’s an all too familiar feeling for Boro fans.
It’s frustrating because it’s been obvious since last summer where Boro have needed to add new recruits, and while most fans understand that transfers are difficult to conclude, the fact that the club are still looking to add a creative spark is an unfortunate case of déjà vu.
With the system that Garry Monk has largely used this season, there isn’t a great need for wingers with most of the creative play going through the middle and width being provided by the overlapping full-backs. However, we all know too well the need for a plan B.
Having game changers on the bench will be a huge plus for Boro and it could be the difference in the promotion race. Both Newcastle and Brighton had strength in depth last season and they both had a plethora of creative attackers, something which Boro clearly lack at the moment.
The next couple of days are not only crucial for Boro’s season, but also for fans’ morale.
Groans are often heard from the terraces when a ball is passed sideways or backwards when fans are crying out for someone to pick a pass and create an opportunity.
Finally getting that player will give the fans something to cheer and get excited about and it’ll avoid certain sections of the fans turning on the management and recruitment team, which was one of the many problems with last season.
Hopefully come Thursday night, Boro fans will be going to bed with the signings they and the team need to give them some more confidence ahead of what’s going to be a long and challenging campaign, but one with so much potential.