Two reasons why Middlesbrough shouldn’t sign Mo Besic in the summer.

It is being reported by the Daily Mail that Middlesbrough-loanee Muhamed Besic is likely to be sold by parent club Everton this summer.

The Bosnian spent the last 14 months in Teesside on a temporary basis and Boro, along with Turkish giants: Fenerbache and Besiktas, are keen on Besic’s signature.

Middlesbrough failed in the summer to secure the midfielder on a permanent deal and, with another season in the EFL Championship looking likely, would reportedly like to keep the former Ferencvarosi TC man in the North East.

Middlesbrough Midfielder Muhamed Besic (27) in action during the 2018 EFL Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough at Portman Road, Ipswich, England on 6 May 2018. Picture by Stephen Wright.

Despite his great impact during the 2017/18 campaign, most Boro fans would agree this season has seen poorer performances from Besic. Despite this, the Bosnian still has two goals and five assists in all competitions – making him tied with Lewis Wing and Jonny Howson for the most assists for Middlesbrough.

So why would Middlesbrough not look to sign Besic permanently then?

FINANCES

According to the report, to sign the midfielder permanently it would set Steve Gibson back nine million pounds.

Only Martin Braithwaite, Jordan Rhodes, Afonso Alves, Marten de Roon and Britt Assombalonga have burnt a bigger hole in the Boro-born businessman’s back pocket.

Middlesbrough Chairman and Cheif Executive Steve Gibson and Neil Bausor watch on from the Riverside stands | Photo credit: GazetteLive

Current Middlesbrough-boss Tony Pulis, who brought Besic to Teesside in the first place, has already spent £13 million on central midfielders during his three transfer windows (Middlesbrough paid eight million pounds for George Saville following a 6-month loan, while Paddy McNair set Boro back five million pounds.)

The only other player that Pulis signed and paid a significant transfer fee, was the seven million pounds for Bristol City’s Aden Flint.

That is £20 million on three players. Could nine more be justifiably spent on another midfielder? Especially when this Middlesbrough side is crying out for more width, striking options and full-back depth.

It would be especially hypocritical of Pulis to bring in another player for big money after berating previous managers for doing just that.

Plus, with no more parachute payments for Middlesbrough, could this be done while keeping the club in the black?

COMPETITION

The way this current squad of players has been comprised is rather bewildering.

Garry Monk spent big on strikers during his one window on Teesside, neglecting the flanks – relying on the academy and a frozen out winger brought in by the previous regime. The latter would go on to flourish without him in charge.

Pulis has strengthened the middle of the park, and not much else. Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Lewis Wing were all at the club before Pulis arrived in December 2017. Since then he has added John-Obi Mikel, Saville, McNair and Besic.

Even before Besic resigned on-loan, Boro were showing good signs in midfield. Lewis Wing racked up three assists in the first two games, while Clayton and Howson retained their spots from the previous year.

A change of formation has meant Besic has had to watch on from the bench at times this season, and if his deal was made permanent, this could mean young talents – such as Wing – are given less time on the field.

Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing watch as Wingn’s shot sails in to the net against Crystal Palace in the EFL Cup | Photo Credit: BBC

Overall, Besic has been a good player for Middlesbrough. On his day, he can be a different class (see Derby away in 2018 for the prime example of this.)

But this class has only shown in flashes, and if Middlesbrough are to go in a new direction, then he could be left by the wayside on Teesside.

Why Tony Pulis can’t keep blaming ‘missed chances’ for Boro’s woes.

By Dom Brown

I, like many of you, have been a fan of Middlesbrough Football Club since I was a child. I remember watching Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Szilard Nemeth and Mark Viduka wheeling away to celebrate after scoring for Steve McClaren’s side, before I was even ten years old.

Away from football, though, I remember I would struggle getting to sleep before school. I would stay awake and think ‘Why can’t I just sleep?’ My mother, when I was upset about a sleepless night, would tell me ‘Don’t worry Dom, it’s about quality and not quantity.’

This is a phrase commonly used in life, or in mine at least, but it can by applied to many different subjects.

If you’re thinking ‘Why or earth are you going on about your childhood sleeping patterns? I clicked this article for you to bash Tony Pulis, not to hear about how you were tired for Literacy at 9am!’

Well I tell you that story to say this. ‘Quality not quantity’ is a phrase that Middlesbrough’s boss should take more seriously at this point of the season.

NO BORO DON’T BORE ME TO SLEEP…

Well maybe…

After Boro’s most recent defeat at home to Bristol City, the fourth loss in a row for the Teesside team who have only one point from the previous 15 on offer, Pulis said how his side have had “40-odd efforts on goal” in the last two games.

Looking at the two 1-0 home defeats Middlesbrough have suffered this week, the reds have had a total of 40 shots at the goal. Out of those 40, 13 have been on target (32.5%.) Add to that that at least another five to eight were easy saves for the goalkeeper and you have a total of around 15-20% of Boro’s shots that could have actually resulted in goals.

Secondly, if you try to think back to how many of those shots actually should have been goals then you have even fewer. I can think of Daniel Ayala’s free header against Norwich, along with the goalmouth scramble and George Saville miss when Bristol City won at the Riverside. (This is without counting miscues from Britt Assombalonga and Jordan Hugill, one coming in each match.)

George Saville misses a chance in front of the South Stand | Photo Credit: GazetteLive

YOU CREATE YOUR OWN LUCK

A common phrase in football, but one which seems to be evading Middlesbrough. Walking back to my car from the game, I thought it was clear to anyone watching the match that Bristol were the better side. Even though Boro dominated possession, they hardly tested the resilience of the City defence.

If you set up like Middlesbrough do at home, then any ‘luck’ that can be given to you by the ‘Footballing Gods’ is taken away. Ryan Shotton looks to be a good player when he is at centre back, but if he is your best attacking threat down your right flank then you are admitting defeat. Jonny Howson played very well when he started on that side.

Not to mention Middlesbrough have an exciting young English winger in their ranks. You know? The kind of player that Manchester United are currently writing a £100 million cheque for, or the player starring for England’s national side? Now I will qualify that by saying I don’t know Marcus Tavernier will ever be as good as Jadon Sancho or Callum Hudson-Odoi, but how will we know if he isn’t started?

SHOULD HE GO OR SHOULD HE GO?

I could go on. About a lack of any sign of attacking work on the training ground. About how fans have seen two free-kick routines all season (and neither have gone towards the head of Ayala or Aden Flint.) About Pulis’ attitude towards his players at the start of the year, calling them not good enough – and then not having the ability to secure any replacements in the transfer window.

Today the Evening Gazette have said that Steve Gibson is reluctant to get shot of the Welsh coach. In my opinion that is the wrong move.

When Gibson sacked Gareth Southgate in 2009, he said how the fans had voted with their feet, and had no confidence in the former Boro captain. I struggle to remember that feelings around Teesside were worse then than they are now.