They say 13 is unlucky for some. Yet for Patrick Bamford Saturday 13th May 2017 was the day he finally broke his Premier League goal drought, heading in a Viktor Fischer corner in the 72nd minute. Despite losing 2-1 that day and knowing they’d be playing Championship football next season, Steve Gibson gave Boro fans a glimpse of optimism, vowing that Boro would be the best resourced club in the league next season and that he wanted Boro to “smash the league” in the championship, but what are the steps Boro need to take to try and fulfil Gibson’s ambition?
1/ Appoint the right manager
When Karanka was sacked last March Boro never looked stable with Agnew in charge, but now with the appointment of Garry Monk, Agnew’s uncertainty is a thing of the past. Having worked under the likes of Brendan Rodgers, Monk will ensure that every member of the squad is united and knows what they’re supposed to do once they go out onto the pitch. Monk transformed Chris Wood into a better striker employing the same 4-2-3-1 formation that we’ve become accustomed to watching with Middlesbrough over the past few seasons. Wood notched up 30 goals in all competitions last season, a similar return for Bamford or Gestede would put Boro well on their way to ensuring Premier League football for the 2018/19 season.
2/ Spend well
It’s all well and good being the best resourced team within the division but the key to Championship success is spending that money wisely. Huddersfield’s promotion winning team cost only £16.5 million, highlighting that if Boro spend their money well, there’s no reason as to why they can’t bounce straight back up. It’s rumoured that Garry Monk will have £20 million to spend this summer not including the money made from player sales putting Boro on course to strengthen the squad in this summer transfer window.Will Assombalonga prove vital come May?
3/ Moving players on
Last season there were clearly individuals who hadn’t settled in a Boro shirt and the summer could be the ideal time for them to move on. It’s not cruel in saying Husband, Espinosa and Traore found Premier League life difficult and it remains to be seen if they, amongst others, join Valdes and Guzan out of the exit door this summer. If any of these players do move on, it will be for a hefty price as Boro are financially sound and don’t have to sell players like other Championship clubs to finance new signings.
With 1/3rd of the checklist already ticked off, this summer transfer window is the perfect time for Boro to lay the foundations for a successful promotion campaign. Gibson has vowed that Boro will “smash the league”, now it’s time to deliver.