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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.