Of the promoted teams, surely Middlesbrough have the best chance at survival in the promised land. After relegation in 2009, Boro are set to give it all they’ve got in order to stay up.
The signings are impressive, the stadium is impressive, the manager is impressive – in stature at least – and so they’re well-equipped this season.
Promotion on the last day, and in the way Middlesbrough did it is a momentum-maker. It was essentially a play-off on the last game of the season against Brighton. How do you top that?
Well you probably top that by staying in the Premier League. That will be the measure of success this season, but with so many new signings, so many big names who aren’t in their prime and with a manager who courted some controversy last season, there are still question marks over the Teessiders.
By all accounts, Boro’s summer has been impressive. Signing some big names in the hope of raising the profile and status of the club thanks to the profile and status of the manager.
There’s something strange about a promoted club giving Alvaro Negredo – a 30-year-old striker – so much money in wages, but digging beyond the superficial, it makes more sense. It’s a loan signing, and his wages reportedly equate to about £5m per season – it’s a lot to spend on wages, but you’d pay £5m to buy a striker with the pedigree of the Beast of Vallecas, wouldn’t you?
It has to be the beast himself, Alvaro Negredo. If he can bang in the goals like he did in the first half of his year in Manchester, Negredo will terrify Premier League defences and score enough goals to keep Boro in the league.
After his publicised problems at Southampton, Gaston Ramirez will need to prove that he has the quality his profile suggests he does. At some point you have to stop living on paper and start getting into the game.