The latest signing to arrive at the Riverside Stadium this summer, is midfielder Marten de Roon.
The Dutchman has joined Boro from Italian club Atalanta, having spent just one season at the Serie A club and he helped them to finish a creditable 13th in the league. The 25-year-old, began his senior playing career at Sparta Rotterdam, having initially been part of the Feyenoord youth set-up. Following two seasons with Sparta Rotterdam, de Roon moved to Heerenveen in 2012 and spent three years at the club before sealing a move to Atalanta, for a fee of around £1 million.
During his one season in Serie A, de Roon made more tackles than any other player and this statistic perhaps sums up best, exactly what Boro are getting for their reported £12 million. This is a player who sits in the middle of the park and is not afraid to put his body on the line. The fact he has been labelled ‘The Bulldog’ only further adds to the perception of a man who is going to get stuck in next season as fans will see on Live Premier League fixtures.
During 36 games for Atalanta last season, de Roon picked up 9 yellow cards and 1 red card, registering 1 goal and 2 assists in the process. Therefore, it’s clear de Roon is not going to be a player who will be getting the Boro faithful on their feet because of a great dribble or sublime finish. That being said, he will stir some passion in the stands and also amongst his teammates, with his drive and determination to get the ball back for his team and get Boro moving forward.
Napoli, who finished second in Serie A last season and will be playing Champions League football as a result, were reportedly interested in signing de Roon and had a purchase option on the player. Napoli’s sluggishness to act on this option has been Boro’s gain, as de Roon had no hesitation in switching to the Riverside, as soon as Karanka stepped in for him.
The signing of Marten de Roon, may have caught many fans off-guard, as he was not a name being mentioned at the start of the summer transfer window. However, having missed only two matches for Atalanta during the whole of last season, Boro fans can expect to see plenty of de Roon in the middle of the park next season.