WITH just over seven weeks remaining until Middlesbrough restart life in the Championship, Garry Monk has work to do to reshape a squad in preparation for a promotion charge.

The new manager will be looking to implement his own ideas to get the team playing his way and that will be the main focus when Boro’s players return for pre-season training in the week beginning June 26.

To stand the best chance of being able to do that he needs to get everything else in place and he has already spent this week focusing on what needs to be done.

Loading article content

Here are five of the main issues he will have to deal with before meeting up with the squad, and the importance of getting things right now will lay the foundations for how Middlesbrough shape up next season.


Monk was appointed on Monday but there has been no word so far on who will form his backroom team.

One of the biggest issues to sort out has been the future of Steve Agnew, after he was eventually overlooked for the job on a full-time basis by chairman Steve Gibson.

Agnew, who was Aitor Karanka’s assistant appointed by the chairman, is believed to have been on holiday and it would be a surprise to see him stay on as No 2. Similarly, Monk will have his own ideas, so there are a lot of question marks over the positions of Leo Percovich, Paul Jenkins and Jonathan Woodgate too.

Monk’s first move will be to bring in James Beattie, who was first team coach at Elland Road, while his assistant Pep Clotet and goalkeeper coach Darryl Flahavan are also under serious consideration. Compensation, though, could be key.

Decisions at Leeds are likely to be made now they have named Monk’s successor as the largely inexperienced Thomas Christiansen (rather than the widely tipped Karanka). Expect things to move quickly in the coming days.


Victor Valdes was too expensive, unhappy and left; Brad Guzan is on his way to Atlanta; and Dimi Konstantopoulos is out of contract and due to become a free agent in a couple of weeks’ time.

As things stand that would leave Tomas Mejias, who barely played during his loan to Rayo Vallecano, and Connor Ripley, who did impress at Oldham, as Monk’s only two goalkeepers at his disposal.

It is hard to imagine Monk will be overly keen to play either Mejias, given his record, or Ripley, who has not played at Championship level, so expect him to make adjustments in this area.

Konstantopoulos has been in limbo over his future. He had been told a new deal would arrive at the end of the season only for that to be put on hold while the wait went on for a new manager.

The experienced Greek, who was a shining light during the promotion winning season, expects to learn by the end of this week what Monk intends to do with him.

Given the goalkeeper shortage it would be a major surprise, and a strange move, to allow the 38-year-old, who turns 39 in November, to leave even if Monk does have his eyes on another shot-stopper.

Rob Green, with one year remaining on his own deal at Leeds, is under consideration.


Every one of the Premier League’s big six have given a move for Ben Gibson serious consideration. There have already been calls made to determine how much he would cost.

If the money is right Monk should look to move Gibson on quickly. Given Harry Maguire is set for Leicester in a £17m deal, Gibson’s uncle Steve would be looking for more than that after his call-up to the England squad.

The Middlesbrough chairman is determined not to sell Ben but if he digs his heels in too hard then it could actually be to the detriment of the team.

The last thing Middlesbrough need is a valuable player – with figures of between £20-30m talked about – being unsettled by transfer talk up to the closure of the window on August 31.

Monk, who is keen on bringing Swansea’s defender Kyle Bartley to the Riverside, has been promised cash to spend and that would be boosted significantly if, say, Liverpool get their man in a deal that suits them too.


When you consider the players that could be moved on, it is little wonder Steve Gibson would prefer to keep his nephew, Ben.

Marten de Roon has attracted interest from the Premier League and Serie A, so could bring in a profit on the £12m they paid to Atalanta last summer.

Gaston Ramirez will be the first out of the door if Middlesbrough can find a buyer, although his £15m January price-tag could have dropped because of his behaviour when he demanded a move during the last window and played dreadfully after that.

Beyond those there has been interest in Adama Traore, George Friend and Daniel Ayala, so it is not inconceivable Monk could raise comfortably in excess of £40m if he chose to – and that would increase his own spending power in the transfer market.


Scoring goals has never been Middlesbrough’s strongest point under Karanka, particularly in the Premier League after scoring less than any other side in the top tier.

The squad inherited by Monk will hardly fill him with confidence in the penalty area either, having lost key-man Alvaro Negredo following the end of his loan from Valencia.

Monk will be keen to bring in a new striker as soon as he can and has already been linked with Leeds striker Chris Wood, Norwich’s Cameron Jerome and Nottingham Forest’s Britt Assombalonga in his first few days in charge.

It is not that Middlesbrough don’t have capable strikers already, they do. It’s just that Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede, who have both previously proven themselves at Championship level, could take time to get going.

After a couple of difficult years nobody truly knows what to expect from Bamford and Gestede until their confidence fully returns.

Behind the strikers, Middlesbrough still have Cristhian Stuani, Stewart Downing, Traore and Victor Fischer. How many of those will be around in August is unclear, although they only boasted five goals between them last season anyway – and four of those were from Stuani.

Monk needs additions in the final third, that’s clear.