Steve Gibson’s statement discussing how he wanted to “smash the league” this season brought pressure on himself and the recruitment team that let the club down dearly in the Premier League to be a success this time around.
Big money buys Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher have caught the eye as Boro seemed to buy their way to the promotion favourites tag with bookies, fans and pundits.
However, very little has been said about the money the club has brought in this summer.
Marten de Roon’s return to Atalanta more or less evens out Boro’s summer spending and it will be the second eight figure sum Steve Gibson has negotiated this summer.
Jordan Rhodes’ January loan to Sheffield Wednesday was made permanent for around £10m, de Roon left for around £13m and Gaston Ramirez moved to Sampdoria for a reported fee of €10m.
Along with that, the club have recouped £3m fees for Viktor Fisher and Cristhian Stuani, £4m for Bernardo Espinosa and £1m for James Husband. This summer also saw high earners Victor Valdes and Alvaro Negredo leave the club which will have saved a massive amount from the clubs wage bill.
Boro aren’t finished yet. At the time of writing, Boro look set to sign Ryan Shotton, Lewis Baker and Sheyi Ojo, with the latter two coming in on loan, and with Shotton’s fee said to be around £2.5m, it would make their net spend around £3m with more departures expected.
It’s also worth noting that the players signed this summer will be on significantly less wages than the players signed last summer. Negredo was on a reported £100,000 a week and that outlay has likely gone towards signing 3 or 4 of Boro’s summer signings.
The chairman has gone through a period in recent history of ploughing £1m a month into the club just to keep it running and the team competitive.
Boro are better financed after their season in the Premier League and it means that they are under no pressure to sell. That’s why the de Roon and Ramirez sagas have dragged out, because Boro had a price tag and they were waiting for a club to shell out what they were asking for.
It would have been easy for Boro to cash in on cheap on Ramirez, a player who had demonised himself among the supporters and but instead of loaning him out or selling him for a few million, they held out for a big fee for a player that unquestionably has bags of quality.
We all know Steve Gibson’s business acumen and Garry Monk will have known that he wouldn’t bankroll a £40m spending spree without seeing some of his players depart. So while Boro’s summer transfer dealings may be labelled as ‘big spending’ or ‘buying the league’ if you listen to opposition fans on social media, bare in mind the incomings made from player sales.
Newcastle did the same last summer. They spent big on players, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie being their big money buys but they made their money back on player sale. And while comparisons to our north east neighbours aren’t favourable among the Boro fan base, if we can replicate their league form and final position last season, then we’ll all be happy come May.