Middlesbrough Opinion: Anfernee Dijksteel could solve Boro’s right-back crisis
According to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough have been dealt a massive blow in their pursuit of highly-rated Charlton Athletic defender Anfernee Dijksteel, with reports claiming that Boro have had a bid for the youngster turned down by the Addicks.
Dijksteel has been linked with a move to the Riverside Stadium numerous times this summer and Teesside Live understands that Middlesbrough are open to strengthening their full-back department ahead of the upcoming season.
The 22-year-old Charlton man isn’t the only full-back to have been linked with a move to Boro, though, with the same report claiming that the Teessiders are also hot on trail of former Chelsea star Todd Kane, who is currently a free agent upon his release from Stamford Bridge.
The report suggests that Charlton are keen to secure the long-term future of their highly-rated academy product with a new deal and manager Lee Bowyer has the Dutchman in his plans for the upcoming season, as Championship football returns to The Valley after an absence of three years.
Dijksteel made a total of 39 appearances for Charlton Athletic in all competitions this past season, as the Addicks finished third in League One and beat Doncaster and Sunderland in the playoffs to make it back to the Championship.
The Dutchman joined Charlton’s youth system back in 2016 and after spending a year on the fringes of the senior team, Dijksteel eventually made his competitive debut for the Addicks in August 2017 in a League Cup fixture against Exeter City.
The right-back only played a bit-part role in the first-team in his breakthrough season and made 19 appearances in all competitions but he really came of age the last term and emerged as one of the cornerstones of Charlton’s promotion-winning campaign in League One.
Essentially a right-back by trade, the Dutch U-20 international is also capable of filling in as a centre-back and also in front of the backline in a defensive midfield role.
Well, such a trait of versatility should be an asset to any team and it is not a surprise to see Boro identify him as a potential option in a bid to add more depth to their full-back department.
Middlesbrough are yet to flex their muscles to a large extent this summer, with goalkeeper Tomas Mejias the only fresh addition to the squad so far on a free transfer.
However, Boro have apparently raised a good sum of money from the sale of Martin Braithwaite and Aden Flint to Leganes and Cardiff City respectively.
Manager Jonathan Woodgate must reinvest that money to improve other areas of his squad over the next couple of weeks before the deadline.
To put things into perspective, lack of depth at right-back continues to be a major issue for Woodgate and it is a no-brainer that the acquisition of a talented and exciting youngster like Anfernee Dijksteel could go a long way towards sorting out their problems in that particular area of the pitch.
The Dutchman has made a strong and promising start to his senior professional career at the Valley and at 22, there is still plenty of time left for him to make significant improvements to his game.
A powerful runner with the ball at his feet, Dijksteel is regarded as a player with potential and his arrival would ease the burden on Jonny Howson, who has been filling in at right-back for quite a long time now due to the absence of a specialist in that position.
Ryan Shotton and former Man United star Patrick McNair were also drafted in at right-back by Pulis last season but neither looked comfortable in that role.
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Middlesbrough should go all out in their pursuit of Anfernee Dijksteel this summer and make a renewed attempt to lure him to the Riverside Stadium in a bid to solve their right-back conundrum.