Tony Pulis should look to bring Brighton and Hove Albion full-back Bernardo to the Riverside Stadium as the Brazilian struggles for minutes in the Premier League.
Bernardo joined the Seagulls in the summer for £9million as the left-back moved from German side RB Leipzig to the English south coast.
The 23-year-old had only spent two seasons at the Red Bull Arena but impressed Chris Houghton in his 49 outings under Ralph Hasenhuttl. However, since making the switch, he has featured just three times and has not started a game since August.
Speaking on his new recruit in the summer, Houghton noted Bernardo’s qualities to the BBC: “He is a strong, committed defender who can play on the left or right, and so his versatility gives us good options at the back.”
An option that is so far being wasted on the bench.
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Middlesbrough are in need of another full-back with George Friend the only real option at left-back. Ryan Shotton’s injury on the right-hand side of the pitch also presents an opening for a new face in January given the only replacements Pulis has to call on are central defenders or midfielders.
Bernardo, meanwhile, has regularly been praised in the past for his ability to play, well, anywhere. Football Whispers described the 6 foot 1 Sao Paulo-star as an all-rounder and noted how he set the fourth-highest rate of forward passes per 90 minutes for full-backs in the Bundesliga last year while averaging 4.52 tackles and interceptions per game.
Despite featuring very rarely for Brighton, those themes have carried over to the English game with WhoScored recording 5.6 attempted tackles and 2.4 interceptions per 90 minutes this season.
Stats like these will allow the Brazilian to slot into Pulis’ system in the northeast and help continue Boro’s record as the best defensive unit in the Championship, having conceded a league-low eight goals thus far.
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