According to The Birmingham Mail, it looks as though Middlesbrough are to miss out on signing Everton winger Yannick Bolasie, with Aston Villa hijacking the deal.
This may feel like a bitter blow to The Boro, and possibly to manager Tony Pulis, but this should not trouble the club too much. While the Congolese speedster would be a great addition to the club, they are still in a very good place.
Middlesbrough currently sit in second place in the Premier League table, and are unbeaten thus far this season. But what will please Pulis the most is the current form of attacking trio, Stewart Downing, Britt Assombalonga, and Martin Braithwaite, with six goals between them already this season.
It’s the versatility of these attackers that means that they must stay in the side. Braithwaite can be deployed as a winger or a striker, meaning Pulis can be flexible with his formation. Likewise, Downing can play as a winger, or deeper in the field, shown when the manager opted to play two strikers against Birmingham, meaning Downing dropped to play as a left-sided midfielder.
To then be able to bring Ashley Fletcher from the bench shows the strength in depth that Middlesbrough have, making them solid contenders to secure promotion this season.
So, while Bolasie (valued at £16.2m on Transfermarkt.co.uk) would be a great addition to the side, it isn’t strictly necessary. He may have possibly usurped one of the three attackers at the club as the season progressed, but for now Pulis seems set on a formula that is serving him very well. There’s is no need to change things.
With such a focus on Championship clubs securing a loan signing before the end of the transfer window, Tony Pulis can still be very satisfied with the squad he has.