“I think whatever club gets him, in England or in another country, will be a lucky club.” Jose Mourinho on Aitor Karanka.
Karanka is being lined up as a replacement manager for either Crystal Palace or Middlesbrough with both media outlets in their respective areas releasing stories that claim ex-Real Madrid assistant is set to join their side.
Stories in the North East have suggested that Wednesday will see the arrival of Karanka at Middlesbrough, has worked under Jose Mourinho. A two and a half year deal is what has been projected to the local media and Steve Gibson, ‘Boro chairman, has met with the Spaniard on a number of occasions. Karanka symbolizes a bold but impressive gamble for the Teeside club who has, albeit since Gordon Strachan, taken a more numbed down approach toward new managers.
Tony Mowbray was a predictable but correct appointment at the time and one that saved the club from an embarrassing relegation two seasons ago. Mowbray ultimately failed in his pursuit of premier league football, plighted by the over indulgence in trust that was placed upon Gordon Strachan’s head on his arrival. It is ironic for Middlesbrough that they fired Gareth Southgate whilst within the promotion shake up with 3 points separating them from automatic promotion. It is a decision that was scrutinized loosely at the time with supporter’s intent that it was a sensible choice. The power of hindsight is undoubtedly a strong one…
However ‘Boro will hope the extensive wages that will be paid out to Karanka will yield success with the 40 year old inheriting a side that has been uninspiring at best since it’s relegation from the Premier League in 2009. A side that can go hot and cold more times than a kettle in a builder’s café per season, Karanka will hope he can administer consistency with a side that does contain elements of class. In Marvin Emnes the team certainly have a potential 20 goal a season man, the issue once again being confidence and consistency.
Middlesbrough fans believe their side belongs in the premier league and the riverside stadium has been witness to some memorable European nights and toppling’s of the upper echelons of the top division, but it is no longer a given. Money coming into the club is faltering with the signature of Alfonso Alves (£12m) in 2009 and the haphazard Scottish obsessed spending of Gordon Strachan in 2010 hurting the club financially. Purse strings were loosened upon the arrival of experienced Strachan but he was to leave empty handed and red faced after a terrible return of results. A pass the parcel scenario has occurred since then with each manager appointed being tied to a team of players with fresh contracts and a tiny transfer budget. Funnily enough the projected wages that Karanka and his backroom staff will dictate suggests chairman Steve Gibson is ready to give another manager the economic strength to turn the average Championship side into a challenging Premier League one.
Supporters have greeted the news with delight amid rumours that caretaker manager, and crucially Tony Mowbray’s assistant, Tony Venus was to be appointed. Venus would have provided a sideways step, another dent upon crowd attendances and probably stabled a ship that is so stable within the middle of the Championship that is yet to leave the docks. Karanka is an exciting prospect for Middlesbrough and his links to Spanish clubs could be vital considering Watford’s success with Italian counterparts Udinese. With his appointment Gibson must be commended for dodging the easy option of Venus and it is now time for the Boro supporters to get behind the side for hopefully a more fruitful campaign than the last 3.