Gibbo must stave off any Spurs or Liverpool bid


Football FanCast guest columnist Jason Burgess looks at the
catch-22 set to face Middlesbrough over Adam Johnson.

They say
you shouldn't live your life with regret, but I often wonder if the likes of
Steve Gibson and Keith Lamb often question the logic of hanging on to Stewart
Downing last January, when there were obviously other areas of the squad that
Gareth needed to strengthen. I understand their reasoning for wanting to make a
stand against Tottenham, but I truly believe their funds would have enabled us
to bring in the players that would have kept us in the Premier League.

It was
the wrong decision and relegation has cost a club extremely dear and why we hope
that we will see an instant return in the Championship, we know nothing is certain,
given the openness of this League. Life has now turned full circle for us and whereas
last January we should have sacrificed our best player, Stewart Downing, in
order to strengthen elsewhere, I now truly believe we need to hold onto our
current one, Adam Johnson, in order to give us the best opportunity to return. The
problem is that with Johnson unwillingness to sign a new contract that Gibbo
will this time be tempted to cash in.

The
situation is a real catch-22 for Middlesbrough and given our financial woes,
one that represents a huge gamble. The tribunal system we know is flawed and
always favours the big teams so if Johnson, as expected runs down his contract
then our compensation is likely to be minimal compared to a January bid that
according to the Gazette and Boro Mad, both Liverpool and Tottenham are weighing up. Gibson and
Southgate now have to weigh up the chances of us being able to get promoted with
or without Johnson to work out the financial implications of it. What would
happen if we were to keep Johnson until the end of the season and not get
promoted? Is it a risk worth taking, especially given our current financial
outlook?

I don't
envy Gibbo here and looking at the best interests of the club, then the need to
get back in the PL is of the upmost importance. I accept that we run the risk
of perhaps losing in the region of £5m if we don't take an offer in January
from the aforementioned clubs, (if the rumours be believed) and why that is a
significant amount, given our plight at present, don't we owe it to all the
hard work we put in to be an established PL club to potentially take that hit?

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