According to The Teeside Gazette, Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has insisted that wantaway striker Martin Braithwaite will not be leaving the club in January.
It was heavily speculated over the summer that the Dane would be leaving The Riverside, but ended up staying put in the northeast.
However, since the striker was embroiled in these transfer rumours, he has not started for The Boro.
That was understandable for the club’s fixture against Leeds two weeks ago, as Pulis may have sought to field a more defensive outfit. But it seemed more strange that Braithwaite did not start in Saturday’s loss to Norwich.
This raises the question of whether the striker has fallen out of favour with Pulis. Alongside Britt Assombalonga, Braithwaite was in scintillating form before this saga, helping The Boro race to the top end of the Championship table. However, since he has been dropped, the team have failed to win, albeit in only two matches.
Pulis has a long history of butting heads (literally) with some of his player, and this could be another case. Nacer Chadli, James Beattie and Jermaine Pennant can all attest to the wrath of the Welshman, and Braithwaite (valued at £7.2m on Transfermarkt.co.uk) may be the newest member on that list.
However, Middlesbrough fans will hope that the manager and player can bury the hatchet if there are any lingering problems. For the sake of Middlesbrough’s promotion bid, they will need their electric forward back in the starting XI.
If Braithwaite has made an enemy of Pulis, it will be the team that pays the price.