Two Midfielders Who Can Effectively Replace Marten de Roon At Middlesbrough
Marten de Roon has joined Atalanta now and given Boro’s need to bounce straight back to the Premier League, it would be unwise not to replace him.
Boro have brought in other midfield players of course, but their willingness to lose both de Roon and possibly Grant Leadbitter means that a long, tough Championship season could be even tougher without reinforcements in the engine room.
For now, bringing in fresh talent from League One is probably off the agenda, while paying big bucks for a Premier League reject would not be wise either. So a solid midfield player of Championship quality would be the way to go if they do wish to directly replace de Roon. Here are a couple of possibilities:
Joe Ralls (Cardiff City)
The Bluebirds have made a fantastic start to the season, though most cannot see it lasting for long. The Welshmen are currently on top of the Championship table and once again, Ralls is at the centre of things with four appearances and one goal already.
Scoring six times in the league last season was a real breakthrough for him in terms of getting forward from midfield and he’d be odds-on to beat that figure this time. Any fee for him would not be extortionate either and would fall within Boro’s spending capacity, especially after the sale of De Roon.
Alan Browne (Preston North End)
I pointed this guy out last season as someone who appears to be flying under the radar but that he has serious talent. As a defensive midfielder, he does a lot of the unseen work but invariably, when he does well, Preston do well.
Although his 31 league appearances didn’t yield a goal last season, he did net 3 goals in each of the two seasons preceding that, and has passable attacking ability if it’s required. His strengths are in breaking up the play and passing the ball to simply get his side on the move, and Boro would benefit from this.
Browne is important for Preston, playing all four games so far this season, and it has not been a big surprise to me to see them start quite well again, all things considered, despite a different manager being at the helm. Browne is a major reason why they are outplaying their circumstances at Deepdale. Though it would be cruel on them if he were to leave, he’d be a great addition for Boro.