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Transfer window review: How Middlesbrough fared in the summer market
Friday, 16th Oct 2020 19:27 by @Phil Spencer

The transfer window has finally slammed shut for the summer.

It feels like an eternity since it first opened, but fear not, you only have to wait another 10 weeks before the transfer madness starts again in January.

For Middlesbrough it’s been a summer of wholesale changes.

After losing a core group of players at the end of their contracts it’s very much felt like the start of a new regime at the Riverside Stadium.

Big-money signings and ludicrously high wages are a thing of the past and now the remit is on signing players based on value for money and future potential.

You’re right, it’s not quite as exciting and sexy as a few years ago but it’s about time we started cutting our cloth accordingly.

With that in mind let’s take a look at the deals that have been done during this transfer window and whether they were deals worth doing.

Incomings

Grant Hall

A solid, but unspectacular signing.

The 28-year-old arrived on a free transfer from Queens Park Rangers as the club’s first signing of the summer, and frankly his signing was met with relief more than excitement.

Hall has a wealth of Championship experience, and while he may not be a signing to get supporters all hot under the collar he’ll no doubt do a decent job in Middlesbrough’s defence.

Given that he’s arrived on a free transfer there’s very little expectation on the signing and if he can hold down a spot in the starting XI then I think Steve Gibson will be happy.

Rating: 6/10

Marcus Bettinelli

The Fulham goalkeeper arrived on a season-long loan from the newly-promoted Premier League club.

Signing a new stopper didn’t seem like a priority for Middlesbrough when we started pre-season with Dejan Stojanovic, Aynsley Pears and Tomas Mejias in the ranks, but Bettenelli’s arrivals signalled that change was on the horizon.

Despite some shaky performances, the 28-year-old has established himself as Neil Warnock’s first choice between the sticks – a position that he’s likely to hold for the duration of the season.

That said, supporters are yet to be convinced that he’s any better than the other keepers that he’s gazumped in the Boro pecking order.

Rating: 7/10

Sam Morsy

We’re yet to see a huge amount of Samy Morsy but I’m very hopeful about what he has to offer.

The Egypt international arrives at the club as a result of Wigan Athletic’s plight in which they suffered relegation as a result of a controversial points deduction.

If you speak to supporters of the Latics the 29-year-old was very much the talisman of the team that defied the odds on the pitch – even if matters off it proved decisive.

Middlesbrough are in desperate need of leaders after losing the likes of Dani Ayala, George Friend, Ryan Shotton and Adam Clayton and so the hope is that once Morsy settles into the side he could prove to be a key player under Neil Warnock.

Rating: 8/10

Chuba Akpom

It was a deal that was met with scepticism when it was announced, but the arrival of Chuba Akpom looks like our signing of the summer.

A £2.7million arrival from Greek side PAOK, the former Arsenal youngster has made the perfect start to his Middlesbrough career by scoring two goals in two games so far.

No one expects him to keep up that ratio of goals to games, but it’s certainly an encouraging start.

At 25 years of age Akpom is yet to reach his prime years and if Middlesbrough can help him to fulfil his potential then the price paid for him will look like an absolute bargain.

Rating: 9/10

Patrick Robert

The boy is back in town.

Last season was pretty frustrating for the Manchester City man as his time at the Riverside Stadium was hampered by injury problems.

It’s pretty rare that supporters are crying out to re-sign someone when they’ve been limited to just eight starts, but that just goes to show the impact that Roberts had on the Middlesbrough team.

Now that he’s back on loan for another season supporters will be hoping that we can keep the 23-year-old fit for the full campaign – as when he’s firing on all cylinders Roberts could be a vital cog in the Neil Warnock machine.

Rating: 8/10

Outgoings

Aynsley Pears

Excluding the out of contract players, Aynsley Pears is the only senior player to move on this summer.

A permanent switch to Blackburn Rovers on deadline day ended the 22-year-old’s time with Middlesbrough and sees him move elsewhere to kick on in his career.

In truth, Pears’ exit is somewhat disappointing given the undoubted potential that he has.

However with a contract that’s set to expire next summer it is incredibly risky to keep hold of a player who could then leave for nothing.

Middlesbrough are not in a position to lose such a talent for free, and so the decision to cash in on the goalkeeper seems like the best outcome from a bad situation.

Rating: 5/10.

Stephen Walker

With first team opportunities set to be limited it made sense for the 20-year-old to head out on loan.

After spending a short spell with MK Dons last term, the forward returns to the midlands side on a season-long loan this time around.

Walker is clearly a talent but is still incredibly raw, so the opportunity to really knuckle down in League One should see him return to the club next summer as a much-evolved being who is ready to stake a claim for a first team spot.

Rating: 7/10.

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Photo: Action Images



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