Middlesbrough Opinion: Browne could add more depth to Boro’s midfield
According to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough have been credited with an interest in West Ham starlet Marcus Browne, with the report claiming that the 21-year-old has flown over to Rockliffe Park to complete a medical and put pen to paper on a new deal ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Teesside Live understands that Browne, who has only one year left on his current contract at West Ham, wants to play regular first-team football next season after struggling to break into the senior ranks at East London. He made his debut for the Hammers in the Europa League qualifying rounds way back in the 2016-17 campaign.
Browne spent this past season on loan at Oxford United in League One and earned plenty of plaudits for his influential performances in the midfield, accumulating 9 goals and 5 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions to propel his team to a mid-table finish in the third-tier.
Apparently impressed by the kind of impact that the midfielder had last season, Oxford manager Karl Robinson was also keen to re-sign him on another loan deal.
As the story goes, Middlesbrough are prepared to offer the 21-year-old a chance to prove his credentials in the Championship next term. (h/t Teesside Live)
Boro have already raised a lot of funds from the sale of Martin Braithwaite to La Liga side Leganes and centre-back Aden Flint to Cardiff City, so they might as well reinvest that money to improve a few areas of their squad before the transfer deadline in August.
New manager Jonathan Woodgate is yet to bag any major scalps in the market this summer, with goalkeeper Tomas Mejias the solitary new arrival at the Riverside Stadium till date. That, however, is likely to change very soon, with Marcus Browne closing in on a move.
Bringing in reinforcements in the full-back and wide department continue to be a priority for the manager but Boro also need to address their problems relating to the lack of creativity in their ranks.
Middlesbrough’s tally of 49 goals was one of the worst scoring records amongst the top-ten sides in the Championship last season and, while Tony Pulis’ rather one-dimensional philosophy was partly responsible for that, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that Boro need to strengthen their attack to challenge for promotion next term.
Marcus Browne might have made only one senior competitive appearance for West Ham but the 21-year-old’s vast potential was there for everybody to see in League One the last term, whilst he has also featured prominently for the Hammers’ U23 side over the past few years.
To put things into perspective, Boro’s links with the West Ham starlet might not be exciting enough to get the fans off their feet but snapping him up for a thrifty sum of money could prove to be a smart piece of business for Woodgate.
Essentially a central attacking midfielder by trade, Browne is capable of playing in both No.10 and No.8 roles in the middle of the pitch.
Noted for his pace, creativity, intelligent passing, as well as his hard-working nature, tenacity, stamina and ability to win the ball back for his team, the 21-year-old could prove to be a real asset to Boro’s attacking ranks.
In Lewis Wing and Ashley Fletcher, Boro have two promising central attacking midfielders in their squad, and someone like Browne would provide cover and competition for the duo.
Moreover, his ability to play in central midfield and chip in with goals and assists should allow the club to cope with the departure of John Obi Mikel and Mo Besic.
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With that in mind, it should be an absolute no-brainer for Boro to wrap up a deal for the West Ham prodigy at the earliest because a good pre-season could help him settle down better before the next season gets underway in August.