Middlesbrough are a side who have been struggling to find a good run of form ever since they were relegated from the Premier League. Garry Monk came into the job following a very good campaign with Leeds United the season before but is Monk the man Boro need if they’re going to challenge for promotion?
Garry Monk spent a giant £50m in the summer with his marquee signing being Britt Assombalonga. Although he has done very well under Garry Monk the same can’t be said for his striking compadre, Martin Braithwaite, who has only scored four goals in 12 games in the Championship. The Dane cost over £10m and so far has proven himself to be poor signing by Monk. Boro also signed Fletcher and Howson for a sum totalling over £11.5m. All these poor signings aren’t all down to Monk but he will have had his say and will have to take some of the blame for them. Will Steve Gibson be prepared to give him another transfer window to turn things around?
Another reason why Monk probably isn’t the best man to take Middlesbrough forward is that he hasn’t been bringing out the best in players like Aitor Karanka did. Players like Gibson, Ayala, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter etc and if you look, there’s a recurring theme here. All of them are defensive minded players. Monk isn’t great with defensive players and when Boro were promoted under Karanka their success was built on a solid defensive unit. Two years ago they had the best defence in the league conceding just 31 goals. It’s not even mid-December and they’ve already conceded 20 goals while only scoring 25. That just isn’t good enough for a club who before a ball was kicked were looking at winning the title.
Two Potential Replacements
The obvious one is Aitor Karanka given he did get them promoted in 2016 but he did fall out with the fans towards the end of his tenure so that could hinder any possible reunion.
Tony Pulis could also be a target to sort out Boro’s defensive issues. With Pulis redound for his defensive-minded coaching and with Boro’s recent success being built on their defensive solidarity it seems like a perfect match!