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[Sticky] Wilder's window of opportunity to build promotion squad

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werdermouth
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With the fixtures and fittings (in the form of the new retro shirt) already sorted, the arrival of July sees the official opening of the transfer window. Chris Wilder is already underway in shaping his squad for the start of the new season, which is now less than four weeks away thanks to the unseasonal winter World Cup in the desert of Qatar.

After once again dusting down my trusty Excel spreadsheet of the Boro squad, I've produced an interactive table to assist in assessing how the rebuild is filling in those gaps left by those from the 2021-22 squad passing through the Hurworth departure lounge. It's already looking like 18 players have either already long gone or are being lined up for exits - whether it's those whose contracts or loans have ended or players who have subsequently been loaned out, moved on or told they are available for a transfer to pursue their career elsewhere.

The table is colour-coded (see key below it) and where appropriate further details of each player's situation can be seen by hovering the cursor over their name.

2021-22 Squad Position 2022-23 Squad
  Goalkeeper Zack Steffen
Joe Lumley Goalkeeper Joe Lumley
Luke Daniels Goalkeeper Luke Daniels
Sol Brynn Goalkeeper Sol Brynn
Dejan Stojanovic Goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic
  Goalkeeper Liam Roberts
Dael Fry Central Defender Dael Fry
Paddy McNair Central Defender Paddy McNair
Anfernee Dijksteel Central Defender Anfernee Dijksteel
Sol Bamba Central Defender Darragh Lenihan
Lee Peltier Defender  
Grant Hall Central Defender Grant Hall
Nathan Wood Central Defender  
Marc Bola Left Wing-back Marc Bola
Neil Taylor Left Wing-back Ryan Giles (loan)
Hayden Coulson Left Wing-back Hayden Coulson
Isaiah Jones Right Wing-back Isaiah Jones
Djed Spence Right Wing-back Djed Spence
Darnell Fisher Right-Back Darnell Fisher
  Right Wing-back Tommy Smith*
Jonny Howson Central Midfield Jonny Howson
Marcus Tavernier Attacking Midfield Marcus Tavernier
Matt Crooks Attacking Midfield Matt Crooks
Riley McGree Midfield Riley McGree
Martin Payero Midfield Martin Payero
James Lea Siliki Central Midfield  
Caolin Boyd-Munce Central Midfield Caolin Boyd-Munce
Connor Malley Midfield  
Hayden Hackney Midfield Hayden Hackney
Joe Gibson Right Midfield Joe Gibson
Jeremy Sivi Right Midfield Jeremy Sivi
Duncan Watmore Forward Duncan Watmore
Josh Coburn Striker Josh Coburn
Andraz Sporar Striker  
Folarin Balogun Forward  
Aaron Connolly Striker  
Uche Ikpeazu Striker Uche Ikpeazu
Chuba Akpom Striker Chuba Akpom
Sammy Ameobi Forward  
Toyosi Olusanya Forward  
Stephen Walker Striker Stephen Walker
KEY Squad Member End of Loan
Academy Graduate Long-term Injured New Signing (loan)
Sent on Loan Contract Ended Future Uncertain

As yet only three new faces have arrived or four if you include 'on trial' Tommy Smith who is innocent until evidence that the Spence to Spurs story is proven. With his successful loan spell at Forest relaunching his career, the return of the Djed may initially sound like it could feel the force of a rising-star-wars battle at right wing-back with the equally impressive Isaiah Jones - or as Yoda would say: "Yet a done deal Djed to Spurs is it not".

However, neither party will want to see the name of Spence on the back of a Boro shirt this season. Wilder's hopes of signing those so-called 'marquee' players will surely depend on cashing in on this unexpected bounty and the player himself won't be entertaining anything less than playing in the PL. Whether Boro get their £20m asking price may depend on clubs other than Spurs being prepared to get close to that offer as it is essentially an Ebay auction where Daniel Levy need only better the highest bid as any pretence Boro want to retain Spence to keep Jones on the bench will be an even harder sell to any potential suitors - though Steve Gibson is building a reputation for playing hardball so the episode could drag on until late in the window unless someone blinks.

Most expect at least one of those aforementioned marquee signings are needed up top instead of the more recent no-mark ones that have been recruited at the sharp (blunt?) end. It should be noted that none of the 'strikers' hit double figures last term so it was an obvious failing in the plan for promotion. Still, rumours that 34-year old former Blades striker David McGoldrick is being lined up to be re-united with his old boss doesn't sound like he's one for the big tent category - perhaps more of a pop-up beach tent that may struggling to be ever packed away again.

While the blame may be pointed those who were supposed to put the ball in the back of the net, it shouldn't be assumed this was the main reason Boro didn't make the required goal tally. At the moment the Boro midfield looks well stocked with last season's incumbents of Howson, Tavernier, Crooks, McGree and Payero all expected to remain. However, they will need to create more clear-cut chances between them and even score themselves as if you take away Crooks the other four didn't make double figures between them.

It may well be something of a gamble to hope these five will be able to up their game this campaign and deliver. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a more complete midfielder-come-playmaker arrive - though there's surely more to come from McGree and hopefully Payero - with perhaps Tavernier maturing even more in what could be a definitive season for him.

Nevertheless, it could well be how the wing-backs perform that will determine how effective Boro are going forward. Jones was impressive in many games last season but when his form dipped so did the team's. For much of the campaign, Boro had little threat on the left with Taylor being a make-do option going forward while Bola was out injured. The arrival of Ryan Giles on loan from Wolves is an attempt to address that having already spent last season in the Championship with loans at Cardiff and Blackburn. Whether the youngster is the solution we shall have to wait to discover but he made nine assists in his short spell in South Wales so there is potential for him to keep up with the Jones on the right.

The other obvious weakness in the team was at keeper and with Lumley now parked at Reading, Wilder has brought in Liam Roberts as the next hopeful to add a presence between the sticks. While he's only six-foot exactly in thick socks, somewhat small by traditional goalie standards, he's apparently made his name in the new trend of sweeper-keeper, which maybe will see Boro play higher up the pitch and distribute the ball forward quicker. However, it should be noted that he only played in League Two last season at Northampton so maybe he's not yet being pencilled in at number one.

As for the defence, with quite a few departures and Grant Hall being told to find a new club too, that essentially has left just Fry, McNair and Dijksteel as the remaining central defensive options. Wilder has brought in former-Blackburn defender Darragh Lenihan on a free, who he sees as a player who can play under pressure and see out games. He's likely to play on the right of a three, which sounds like competition for Dijksteel, though he was arguably one of the better performers last season so would be a surprise to see him relegated to the bench. In addition, Boro appear to be looking for a left-footed central defender to offer better balance in a three with possibly overtures being played towards Hull City's promising youngster Jacob Greaves - though the Tigers seem to value him far higher than the club's initial bid.

Overall, there is a risk that Chris Wilder's tactics have now been noted by opposition managers and it will be harder to surprise the opposition and indeed they may have worked out how to play against them. A squad that can mix it up a bit more may be a more effective proposition unless Boro can sign better quality players in key positions to make them a more effective unit. Though, leaders on pitch may be what we'll hear more in this window rather than a series of posed photos to announce the arrival of game-changing players. Perhaps a tougher Boro rather than prettier one.

So we will no doubt soon start to see the ramping up of rumours as social media enters overdrive and agents start to tout their charges and hype up their abilities. Boro may even get one of those ridiculous offers (hopefully ridiculously high not low) that we are told will tempt them to sell a Tav or Fry. Still, there's a long way to go yet before the window closes on 1st of September - plenty of time for Chris Wilder to present his much-anticipated marquee signing that he's promised. Time to show intent!

This topic was modified 3 months ago 8 times by werdermouth
This topic was modified 2 months ago 4 times by werdermouth

Original Fat Bob
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Thanks Werder just like old times wondering what’s going to happen this season.

  1. TBH I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sporar return to Boro this season let’s wait and see.
     

Liked by 4 people: Powmill-Naemore, Malcolm, K P in Spain and werdermouth
 
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Selwynoz
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Thanks Werder.

The anticipation can be as much fun as the actual season, particularly when one spots a possible acquisition or a player who is about to make a breakthrough and it turns out to actually happen that way.

If I’m going to put a name up it would be Riley McGree who just seems to be one of those players who makes an impact in any game that he plays. I don’t think that this is an Australian-influenced focus but I do think that McGree and Giles represent a real step up down the left hand side.

I would also like to throw some plaudits to the Boro Breakdown Podcast. I don’t know how many bloggers listen to it but they bring a really solid mixture of fandom and realistic analysis. One big tick to them is that they listed Ryan Giles as a possible acquisition and it played out that way. Dana Maltz does a lot of really good tactical analysis and a lot of her suggestions seem to end up happening on the pitch. I wonder how many pundits ever make their way into analysts at different clubs.

Regarding Spence, I would suggest that this week will see some movement. Both clubs are heading out for tours this weekend and one assumes that they would prefer to have the situation sorted. What do Boro do? Do they take Spence to Portugal?

 

OFB - I had the same thought about Sporar. He always seemed to have the class but never really the service. The improvement to the left side attack could change the way that any forward performs at Boro.

Anyway, for me a final question is to ask whether McNair will get his place back after he serves his one match suspension. If Wilder does find his first choice left footed centre back, I could see Fry, Leniher and Dijksteel ahead of him in the pecking order.

Lots to speculate about sand I really hope that we convince Armstrong to come and score thirty goals in the Championship.

utb

 


deleriad
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It is early days yet but Wilder seems to have embarked on a massive overhaul.

Keepers. Out - Lumley, (Daniels). In - Roberts.

Can't tell if Roberts is an upgrade yet but seems a reasonable punt.

Defence. Out - Bamba, Peltier, Taylor, Wood, Hall, (Bola). In - Giles, Lenihan, (Smith).

Definitely an upgrade in quality but lacking depth. 

Midfield. Out - JLS, (Payero). In - none

If Payero does get shown the door we are really short in numbers. Gibson might step up.

Strikers. Out - nearly all of them. In - none

At this point it starts to look as though we're trying to build a whole team in one window. When Monk decided to do that it went really badly. Wilder obviously has a track record backing him up but I wouldn't be surprised if we end up going backwards this season.

 

 


werdermouth
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OFB

I'm not sure if Sporar will score enough goals to justify a return - last season he managed just 5 from open play with 3 penalties and 2 assists. I'm expecting to see two more prolific strikers arrive at Boro in this window so would Sporar at probably around £3m be worth another punt?


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werdermouth
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Selwynoz

I hope McGree does step up with a pre-season behind him as he looked like a very good player in spells who plays on the front foot - could be the kind of playmaking midfielder we have lacked in recent years.

As for Spence to Spurs - I wonder what Boro's minimum price would be if they want to do a deal quickly - it will probably be one of those with add-ons and appearances that take it closer to £20m given everyone knows both Boro and Djed aren't planning for him to be part of this season's squad.


werdermouth
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deleriad

I was quite surprised to count the number of players leaving or being told to look for new clubs was 18 - though Boro still have a core of around a dozen players who played a significant role last season. There are not many from those who have left or are leaving who would have been anything but squad players so it hopefully should lead to a better more balanced squad - let's see how any new signing gel but with a little over three weeks to the first game then most will be a bit rusty for a few months.

 


K P in Spain
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Excellent as always Werder.  It’s as if you have never been away!  Belated birthday greetings.

I notice you are showing Stojanovic in the uncertain bracket when he has actually left the club (I know there is always one smart Alec).

Club website article on 27/05/22 reveals he has left permanently:

“Goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic is set to join 2 Bundesliga club SSV Jahn Regensburg.” 😎

 


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werdermouth
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KP

I did put the note in the table on the Dejan Stojanovic hover text that said "possible transfer to Regensburg likely" as I've not seen anything that says he has officially signed since the window open on Friday. The MFC website only says he is set to leave but you never know if deals fall through at the last minute 🤔 


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K P in Spain
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Werder.

Apologies, I missed that because I had picked it up on the iPad so hover doesn’t seem to work.  

I interpreted the MFC website posted that they had agreed for him to go effectively on a free but I have also not seen anything to say he has signed.  Perhaps the German press may have a confirming article. 😎

This post was modified 3 months ago by K P in Spain

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K P in Spain
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Although not a definitive record, transfermarket.com shows Stojanovic joining his new club on the 1/07/22. 😎


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werdermouth
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KP

That explains the missing hover text - I've just checked my iPhone and they don't work for me in Safari even though they are supposed to. I've googled possible solutions to fix it but the three suggested ones have so far not worked for me. Pity because it was a useful way of adding extra info without cluttering up the table. I shall ponder it later as I don't like to be beaten as there's usually always a solution!


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Malcolm
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Posted by: @deleriad

It is early days yet but Wilder seems to have embarked on a massive overhaul.

Keepers. Out - Lumley, (Daniels). In - Roberts.

Can't tell if Roberts is an upgrade yet but seems a reasonable punt.

Defence. Out - Bamba, Peltier, Taylor, Wood, Hall, (Bola). In - Giles, Lenihan, (Smith).

Definitely an upgrade in quality but lacking depth. 

Midfield. Out - JLS, (Payero). In - none

If Payero does get shown the door we are really short in numbers. Gibson might step up.

Strikers. Out - nearly all of them. In - none

At this point it starts to look as though we're trying to build a whole team in one window. When Monk decided to do that it went really badly. Wilder obviously has a track record backing him up but I wouldn't be surprised if we end up going backwards this season.

 

 

I totally agree Deleriad at this point in time. None of the new signings in my opinion are shall I say, going to make a great deal of difference.

 


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K P in Spain
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Thanks Werder just like old times wondering what’s going to happen this season.

  1. TBH I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sporar return to Boro this season let’s wait and see.
     

I could well see that happening as a last ditch signing in the event that non of the other names bandied about do not come to fruition.  

A bit like some windows of the past and we all know how they panned out.

Just read Deleriad’s post again and I am beginning to feel a tad uncomfortable.  Hopefully it’s just my usual Teesside optimism raising its unwanted head! 😂😂😎


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Pedro de Espana
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Welcome back Werder in more ways than one. As already said, just like old times along with the other stalwarts keeping things ticking along. Also hope you enjoyed your (birth) day off.

it is only early days yet and I do not believe any of the other teams in the Championship have invested heavily yet. However we possibly have a more potential outgoing number than most. But saying that, I am sure we can replace the fringe/back up players more easily than the required core ones, especially the forwards and ones that can score goals.

The key will be the creativity and chances provided by those supporting the forwards. One could even argue that we failed to break into the top six due to “Team Failure” as specifically lack of goals from those up front. Of course Connolly and Balogan should have done better.

Then we have an earlier kick off to the season so there may be a slow start by some teams as they get organised.

This post was modified 3 months ago by werdermouth

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Pedro de Espana
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Not sure how I blocked up the last couple of paragraphs. Apologies.

As an aside, would iPad / iPhone users generally recommend Safari instead of Google. I use the latter but it is a constant source of issues. 

Any assistance in the use of Safari (or not) would be appreciated.


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werdermouth
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Pedro

I've edited out the block quote for you but can't offer any suggestions about Safari as I'm more of a Windows laptop person and very rarely use my iPhone for browsing the internet - though I think I'm becoming part of a minority who don't use either iPads or smart phones as I'm generally into development and graphic design so need to use a laptop. I still don't find touch screens very intuitive as my mindset is more about fine control rather than using apps.


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werdermouth
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Malcolm

I'm hoping Ryan Giles picks up his form when on loan at Cardiff where he almost provided an assist every other game - that could take the pressure of Isaiah Jones who may not be able to be double marked if the threat comes from both wings. Liam Roberts I know little about other than he was highly rated at Northampton but can he step up to the Championship?

Anyway, it's early days but until we see which strikers Boro sign it's not really the time to judge if Wilder is building a better squad as it's looking there's likely to be ten players arriving in this window or more if others leave.

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by werdermouth

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Forever Dormo
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Werdermouth - that is some graphic you have put together at the top of this thread.  Very useful.  Thanks.


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John Richardson
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Pedro,

The Boss and I use Apple systems and Safari but occasionally Safari plays up. Not my fault obviously, but I then use Opera however my days of manipulating QuarkXpress and InDesign professionally are long gone. If you have the latest Mac machine and platform you should be OK but it is a computer after all.

Probably no help but remember you are not alone!

UTB,

John


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Selwynoz
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Apparently - per Teessidelive - Connor Malley also left this summer.

I have to agree that this summer really revolves around two new strikers. One at least will have to be the kind of gun who takes the attention of opposition defenders. We know that Wilder wants a left-sided centre back but is Bola seen as an option. It would certainly be interesting to see him Giles and McGree working down the left.

Utb


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K P in Spain
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Interesting to read CW’s comments in the EG.  Still looking to sign a left footed CB and PM to play as right sided CB.  This leaves DL/DF to vie for the centre spot.

I wonder if this means they would be willing to let DF leave or if they have injury concerns given he was out twice last season. Probably the latter but you never know if a big enough offer were to be received. 😎


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K P in Spain
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Football Insider reporting that David McGoldrick has had medical at Derby County prior to completing a move to the rams; can’t say I am disappointed as I was not enamoured with the reports linking him to us. 😎


Ken Smith
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No sign of our signing Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root then? Seriously though, but the turnaround at England cricket has made cricket the main summer attraction this year. I watched the Test Match for over 6 hours yesterday including highlights of the 4th days play as well, something I’d never contemplating doing since I was a teenager. It just shows that attack and positivity can be the best form of defence, though I wouldn’t advocate the Boro going 3 goals down at half time and going to win the match. Hang on though, the Boro did it twice in 2006.

Anyhow more cricket tonight as Yorkshire take on Surrey at the Oval on Sky Sports for a semifinal place at Edgbaston in the T20 Competition. A pity though that both counties will be depleted due to call ups for England. Really bad scheduling that.


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Malcolm
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Newcastle trying to flog Dwight Gale to Middlesbrough. No Thanks.

We managed to escape from signing David McGoldrick who has now signed for Derby.

We are not a club for also ran's!


K P in Spain
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Posted by: @malcolm

Newcastle trying to flog Dwight Gale to Middlesbrough. No Thanks.

We managed to escape from signing David McGoldrick who has now signed for Derby.

We are not a club for also ran's!

I agree Malcolm. Whilst he has a good pedigree at Championship level he has not had much football in the last two seasons and I fear he could be another Connolly.

Much better to find someone who has been playing regularly and ideally also scoring. 😎


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Original Fat Bob
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Boro apparently in pole position to sign Ryan Nyambe

He is aged 24 and a former Blackburn Rovers player who left last season although BR were desperately trying to get him to stay.

Is it any coincidence that Ex BR manager Tony Mowbray who is a Boro lad and still lives here may be helping behind the scenes ???

OFB


Liked by 4 people: K P in Spain, jarkko, Powmill-Naemore and Malcolm
 
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Original Fat Bob
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Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to a fee with Middlesbrough that could potentially see the North London side pay £20 million for the transfer of Djed Spence, according to The Telegraph. The initial fee is said to be around £15 million, with instalments taking it even further.

The signing of the full-back is expected to be secured by the weekend as the 21-year-old is on top of Antonio Conte’s wishlist. Spence is said to have his medical scheduled before the Spurs squad travel to South Korea for their preseason tour.

 

OFB


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deleriad
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Boro apparently in pole position to sign Ryan Nyambe

He is aged 24 and a former Blackburn Rovers player who left last season although BR were desperately trying to get him to stay.

Is it any coincidence that Ex BR manager Tony Mowbray who is a Boro lad and still lives here may be helping behind the scenes ???

OFB

Bit of an odd one this. Towards the end of the season, he started to play RWB but he's primarily a defensive right back or right-sided centre-back. Definitely a good player but the one place we're not short of is RCB. He would be a direct replacement for Dijksteel but I rate Dijksteel more highly.


K P in Spain
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Posted by: @deleriad
Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Boro apparently in pole position to sign Ryan Nyambe

He is aged 24 and a former Blackburn Rovers player who left last season although BR were desperately trying to get him to stay.

Is it any coincidence that Ex BR manager Tony Mowbray who is a Boro lad and still lives here may be helping behind the scenes ???

OFB

Bit of an odd one this. Towards the end of the season, he started to play RWB but he's primarily a defensive right back or right-sided centre-back. Definitely a good player but the one place we're not short of is RCB. He would be a direct replacement for Dijksteel but I rate Dijksteel more highly.

Does this mean that they will not proceed with the option of signing Tommy Smith and prefer Nyambe? 😎


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