Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough have been active on the transfer market this summer as they prepare for the upcoming season. So far, the club has brought in seven new faces to Riverside Stadium, including former Manchester United and Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Middlesbrough earned promotion back to the English top flight after finishing second in the Championship with 89 points, four points behind winners Burnley. They got the last direct spot by beating out Brighton & Hove Albion on goal difference.
With both Watford and Bournemouth managing to stay up as newcomers in the Premier League last season, Boro will look to have similar success this upcoming season. Part of the strategy has been to go out on the transfer market in an attempt to bolster the squad.
In addition to bringing in Valdes on a free transfer, who has a vast amount of experience from his 12 years at Barcelona, the club bought midfielder Marten de Roon from Serie A side Atalanta for a reported £12 million, making him the second-most expensive player in club history. De Roon is a hard-working defensive midfielder that earned the nickname “the wavebreaker” for his ability to break up plays for the opposition.
They also brought in winger Viktor Fischer from Dutch side Ajax for €5 million. The 22-year-old Danish international had 24 goals and 13 assists in 79 Eredivisie appearances and won two league titles with Ajax.
Striker Alvaro Negredo has been brought in on loan from La Liga side Valencia. The 30-year-old Spaniard is making his return to the Premier League, as he spent the 2013/14 season at Manchester City where he scored 23 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions. Manager Aitor Karanka is hoping that Negredo can show that same type of form this season.
“He is a really good player and if he recovers his best he will be a really important player for us,” Karanka said.
“Another reason I wanted to sign him is because he has played in this country and he knows the league.
“I’m pleased and he’s pleased because he wants to play his best and he knows that England and this club is the best place to recover his self.”
The defense has also seen some new faces coming in from Spain with right back Antonio Barragan joining from Valencia, and centre back Bernardo Espinosa joining from Sporting Gijon. The club also signed Uruguayan attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez on a free transfer from Southampton.
The other two newcomers, Burnley and Hull City have been pretty modest in their signings so far. Burnley has signed winger Johann Gudmundsson and goalkeeper Nick Pope from Charlton Athletic, while Hull hasn’t made a single signing with only three weeks to go before the start of the season.
Middlesbrough has put themselves in a good position of making sure that they’ve done everything in their power to secure that they have the best chance possible of staying up after spending the last seven seasons in the Championship.
Midfielder Adam Clayton thinks that the club has done the right thing signings these players, and that it gives them a better shot at avoiding relegation.
“We want as many good players through the door that we can possibly get to give us the best chance to stay in this league,” Clayton told the Gazette.
“So the more quality that comes and the more great people come in is good for the club.
“As long as we keep bringing in the right type of people to help us on our way, the more the merrier.”