Aitor Karanka’s spell in charge of Middlesbrough has been anything but a cakewalk; with the Spanish manager walking out on the club earlier this year after a training ground bust up.
However, after those tensions were cleared up; it has been all business for the impressive young manager.
At the end of last season he oversaw Boro’s promotion back to the Premier League, where most fans feel they belong, and he will no doubt continue to push his players further up the table until they are secure in their new league.
In order to do so however, Karanka will no doubt need a number of reinforcements in order to give his squad the depth that it needs to succeed in the Premier League.
Middlesborough’s defensive line is one of particular weakness, with the club facing somewhat of an injury crisis with a host of injuries and departures, and the club have been linked with a host of central defensive stalwarts.
With that, here are FIVE centre-backs Middlesborough could, and should, buy THIS summer…
Despite having a very average career so far, it seems that Paddy McNair is at the top of a host of sides shopping lists this summer.
Now, it would appear that Middlesborough have joined the pack.
HITC are reporting that Boro are looking to McNair in order to solve the defensive crisis currently ongoing at the club, with Karanka reportedly very keen on the Northern Irish defender.
He looked impressive, if not spectacular, during his rare game time with United, so he could definitely do a job with Middlesborough next season.
Another player that could be headed to the Riverside is someone slightly more familiar for Boro fans; Ritchie De Laet.
De Laet spent the second half of last season on loan at the Riverside, and he performed well when given the opportunity. He managed to get an impressive 10 appearances during his spell.
A natural right back, De Laet is equally comfortable playing in the middle of the park.
De Laet is someone that Karanka could definitely rely upon, and HITC are suggesting that the deal would definitely make sense.
It could make sense for everyone.
Another name that the club are reportedly looking towards is 27-year-old James Chester.
Chester currently plays for West Brom, Chester excelled at Euro 2016 this summer despite struggling for game time with West Brom last season.
With two long term injuries at the back, Chester would come in and sure up the Boro defence, adding some much needed steel and grit as they look to perform well in the Premier League.
His lack of appearances for West Brom would suggest that he is surplus to requirements – so this deal does make sense.
Another player that Karanka is definitely interested in is Hull City man Harry Maguire.
The 23-year-old Maguire made 33 appearances for Hull last season, and impressed in a season that many have called a coming of age.
Young talent like his is exactly what Middlesborough need going forward.
Sky Sports are reporting that Middlesborough have placed a £4million bid in for the young defender, in hope that it will be enough to bring him to the Riverside.
Somewhat of an unknown target that Middlesborough are reportedly going after is Kenny Ortigba.
Currently playing for Heerenveen, Ortigba has been told he can leave the club this summer; and Karanka is reportedly interested.
According to The Gazette, a host of European sides are interested; with Middlesborough particularly keen.
He played 31 times last year, and looked good when called upon.
Could be a shot in the dark considering some of the other names linked; but if the price is right…