Middlesbrough have started the season in impressive form under Tony Pulis as the club bid to push for promotion back to the Premier League.
Two home victories and an away draw in the Championship alongside a penalty shootout victory over Notts County in the Carabao Cup have given Boro a fantastic platform from which to build this season, and the supporters will be hoping their side can continue in the same vein for the remainder of the campaign.
The departure of Adama Traore has understandably dampened the spirits of supporters somewhat, so it’s imperative that Pulis brings in a replacement for the wing-wizard before the end of the month.
However, a recent report from The Liverpool Echo claims that Pulis is also eager to strengthen his options at full-back with the signing of Everton’s Cuco Martina.
However, a conflicting report from Sky Sports suggests that Martina is all set to join Stoke on loan this summer, with no mention of Boro’s interest cited in the report.
If that does indeed prove to be the case, it’s fair to say Pulis has made a lucky escape in the transfer market as there are plenty of alternatives on the market who would offer greater defensive solidity and balance on the flanks.
Martina was consistently slated last season for his performances whilst covering for the injured Leighton Baines at left-back as he struggled to cope with the pace and trickery provided by plenty of Premier League wingers.
In his defence he was playing out of his comfort zone at left-back as he typically operates on the right-side of a back-four, but his lack of positioning sense and failure to nullify his opposite number was a recurring theme throughout the season.
Taking a step down to the Championship is certainly the right move for his career, but from Boro’s point of view it’s fair to say that his presence would not be hugely, if at all beneficial to their push for promotion.
At this stage Pulis would be wiser to take a chance on a youngster who is itching to prove themselves at senior level rather than bringing in the lacklustre Martina who has the potential to become a liability at the Riverside Stadium.
Middlesbrough fans – thoughts? Let us know below!