Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Boro end window empty handed

With the transfer window shut, barring any late and unexpected announcements, Boro's squad remains unchanged. Gareth Southgate's attempts to revitalise his pool of strikers appear to have failed.

Afonso Alves' mooted £7million move to Qatari club Al Sadd has not yet been completed. Amidst an afternoon of hilariously overblown coverage, Sky Sports News claimed the Middle Eastern side are in no rush to complete a deal with their transfer window remaining open for a further two weeks. The suspicion remains that the Brazilian was less than keen on the move from the start.

The search for a target man goes on, with Derby County confirming an unsuccessful bid was made for Rob Hulse, widely believed to have come from Boro. That deal seemed to be reliant on Alves' departure in any case.

Boro still have the option of recruiting free agents or loan signings which Southgate may take up if the Alves deal does belatedly go through. Unfortunately, that only heightens the possibility that the only attacking addition to the squad, if indeed any is made, will be Danny Webber.

A disgruntled fanbase will now be asking serious questions of the club's hierarchy. The departures of Downing, Tuncay and Huth have brought in over £20million and shaved a considerable amount off the wage bill. If Alves does still leave, that would bring another £6-7million in and relieve Boro of their obligation to honour his £40,000 a week contract.

In return, Boro have signed Danny Coyne and Leroy Lita on free transfers and Mark Yeates for around £700,000. The club's stated ambition of winning the Championship has certainly been hindered by a transfer policy that has seemed short-sighted and ambitious. The only explanation is that the club's finances are worse than most believed at the start of the summer. Either way, uncertain times lie ahead.

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