Middlesbrough signed a total of three players in the January transfer window, but let six players leave the club. We assess the business done by Chairman Steve Gibson, and how Tony Pulis’ Boro is starting to take shape.
The new Middlesbrough boss has reshaped the team in his first transfer window, and has made deals to fit the mould of how he likes his squads to be. Tough to break down, strong, experienced (and tall).
Mohamed Besic (loan from Everton)
Following the sale of Adam Forshaw to Leeds United, and the exit of Adlene Guedioura, it was always likely that Pulis would delve into the loan market to purchase a central-midfielder. Mo Besic was available, and had not played much since returning from a heavy injury last season.
He is a physical player, but also one who is clever on the ball and can be intricate and creative. He is a different option to what Middlesbrough already have, and that can only be a good thing.
Martin Cranie (loan from Huddersfield)
With Ryan Shotton nailing down the right-back position under the new manager, Cyrus Christie was allowed to leave.
Martin Cranie brings a wealth of experience, and was a mainstay in the Huddersfield team which secured promotion through the playoffs last season. He has even played in the Premier League this season, and is a threat from set-pieces. A real Tony Pulis-style defender.
Jack Harrison (loan from Manchester City)
If Manchester City want to sign a player, you know that he must be special. Jack Harrison recently signed a deal to join Premier League champions-elect Man City for £5 million. But he was loaned out immediately to the North-East.
The Stoke-on-Trent-born youngster was recently called up to the England under-21 set up and he was even dubbed a ‘Golden Boy’ but Spain’s all-time record goalscorer, David Villa. Lets hope he can live up to those expectations.
Martin Braithwaite (loan to Bordeaux)
Speaking of expectations, an £8 million fee for Toulouse’s Martin Braithwaite at the start of the season looked a bargain for many Boro fans. But he has failed to deliver. He has managed just five goals in 19 league games.
Braithwaite has been used as a utility man, changing positions from game-to-game. He has found himself at left-midfield, as a striker and in the no.10 role. This could be the reason for his lack of progress, and has resultantly found himself out of favour with Pulis.
Ashley Fletcher (loan to Sunderland)
Fletcher’s move from West Ham was always going to be hit-or-miss. His hefty transfer fee of £6 million raised eyebrows, given his little experience.
He scored one goal in his time at Middlesbrough, and has failed to make an impression on two managers so far this season. But it is a good signing for Sunderland, who were in desperate need for a forward.
Cyrus Christie (£3m to Fulham)
Many Boro fans were surprised to see that Cyrus Christie’s move to Fulham would be a permanent one. He only signed for Middlesbrough four months ago.
It is a great bit of business however, as Christie has fell down the pecking order in recent weeks. Middlesbrough also made a profit on the Irish-international, having signed him for around £2 million from Derby County in the summer.
Adlene Guedioura (free to Nottingham Forest)
The move to Middlesbrough never worked out for Adlene Guedioura, and he only mustered a mere five appearances in 12 months. However, Guedioura has been welcomed with open arms from Forest fans, and it looks a good deal from both sides.
The Algerian won’t be missed on Teesside, and Mo Besic can deputise on his exit.
Adam Forshaw (£4.5m to Leeds United)
Another central midfielder through the exit door was Adam Forshaw. However, Forshaw’s move won’t be as easy to accept as Guedioura’s.
Forshaw was a huge part of the side that secured promotion to the Premier League in the 15/16 season under Aitor Karanka, but played less and less since the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
But with Leadbitter and Howson playing week-in-week-out and Adam Clayton providing more fight and tactical nous, it was no surprise to see Pulis let Forshaw leave.
Connor Ripley (loan to Bury)
A young goalkeeper who has impressed out on loan in previous seasons. Before the signing of Darren Randolph, many Boro fans predicted Connor Ripley to take the number one spot for his own. But Randolph has been very impressive so far this campaign, and Ripley has had to take a back seat.
His loan move to Burton Albion didn’t work out, and played second-fiddle to Stephen Bywater in goal. Game-time will be crucial for Ripley, as he could make a push for Boro’s second or even first choice goalkeeper in the near future.