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Comment: Ranking Middlesbrough’s 11 signings of the 2020/21 season

Middlesbrough saw 11 new faces arrive in the first-team at the Riverside this season, with varying degrees of success.

After allowing the likes of Dani Ayala, Ryan Shotton, Adam Clayton, George Friend, Rudy Gestede, and Aynsley Pears to leave the club at the start of the campaign, Middlesbrough were in serious need of an overhaul.

With Neil Warnock overseeing his first full season in charge, he looked to the transfer market to sign replacements. Six new players arrived in the summer window, with a further five joining from January onwards.

Here is my ranking of Middlesbrough’s signings from 11 to 1.

11. Patrick Roberts (On loan from Manchester City)

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Roberts enjoyed a successful spell at Boro during the 2019/20 campaign and was a player fans wanted the club to re-sign. However, the move didn’t necessarily go to plan. The attacking-midfielder was used sporadically and failed to have the desired impact a second time around.

10. Marcus Bettinelli (On loan from Fulham) 

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Although the goalkeeper could have been higher in this list, Warnock put a lot of faith in Bettinelli and it ultimately wasn’t repaid. The on loan Fulham man made error after error and was replaced by Jordan Archer for the final few games.

9. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Free agent)

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Having managed Mendez-Laing at Cardiff City, Warnock knew what he would be getting with this short-term signing. But given he had not played since September, his fitness levels were never up to scratch. There is still the possibility he will sign a new deal at the club however.

8. Jordan Archer (Signed from Motherwell)

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Archer was always seen as a back-up goalkeeper but did his first-team chances no harm with solid performances when given the opportunity.

7. Chuba Akpom (Signed from PAOK)

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Although he started the season incredibly well, the goals dried up for former Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom. Warnock has revealed he is looking to sign ‘two or even three’ forwards this summer and he could fall further down the pecking order.

6. Darnell Fisher (Signed from Preston North End)

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Fisher proved to be a shrewd signing for Middlesbrough. The right-back is experienced at Championship level and slotted straight into the first-team fold, putting in a Man of the Match display on his debut against eventual champions Norwich City.

5. Neeskens Kebano (On loan from Fulham)

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Certainly the better of the two Fulham loanees, Kebano scored once and grabbed four assists in his 18 games for the Teessiders. If crowds had been permitted, he is one that would get them off their seats. Unfortunately it looks as though he would be out of Boro’s price range to sign on a permanent deal though.

4. Grant Hall (Free agent)

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Despite a long-term injury keeping him out of the running for the majority of the campaign, his return saw him garner praise from fans, pundits, journalists and his manager. He has been one of the club’s standout performers when fit.

3. Sam Morsy (Signed from Wigan Athletic)

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Morsy’s acquisition looked a strange one given Middlesbrough had Paddy McNair, George Saville, Jonny Howson, and Marcus Tavernier already at their disposal. But the Egypt international added well-needed aggression and fight in the Boro midfield.

2. Yannick Bolasie (On loan from Everton)

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Bolasie had a huge impact in his six months at Middlesbrough and it is easy to see why the North-East side are looking to sign him permanently this summer. In just 15 games he scored three and assisted four.

1. Duncan Watmore (Free agent)

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Many were sceptical about the signing of Watmore, especially given his injury record at his previous club Sunderland. But he proved doubters wrong, ending the campaign as Middlesbrough’s top scorer. It is clear he has been the standout signing and he will be integral to Boro’s top six hopes next season.

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