MIDDLESBROUGH have already been busy this transfer window, with Rajiv van La Parra arriving on loan from Huddersfield, George Saville turning his loan move from Millwall into a permanent transfer and Martin Braithwaite leaving to join Leganes.

With Tony Pulis planning a major overhaul, further transfer moves are expected before the end of the month. What are the key issues the Boro boss will look to address?


Pulis has repeatedly bemoaned a lack of pace and power in the final third, and his key priority in the next three weeks will be to address that failing.

Van La Parra’s arrival should help, but Pulis will want to sign at least one more wide player. Ideally, he would also like another option at centre-forward too.

Brentford’s Romain Sawyers was mentioned as a potential target yesterday, but senior sources insist the 27-year-old is not on Boro’s wanted list. Similarly, while another move for Albert Adomah has been mooted, it is currently regarded as extremely unlikely.

Boro’s scouting team have been watching a number of players based overseas in recent months, but with the next few weeks likely to prove crucial to his side’s promotion hopes, Pulis would rather sign players with extensive experience of the Championship.


Since losing Sam McQueen, who returned to Southampton after damaging his cruciate ligaments in the Carabao Cup win over Crystal Palace, Boro have been short of options at left-back.

Pulis is keen to recruit a new defender this month, and ideally it will be someone who is comfortable both as an orthodox left-back and as a wing-back playing further up the field.

Boro tried to sign Ipswich’s Jonas Knudsen in the summer, but while the Danish international is available as he comes towards the end of his contract at Portman Road, other targets have leapfrogged him on the Teessiders’ wanted list.

Pulis could also look at the right-hand side of his defence, with Ryan Shotton’s injury problems having become more of an issue in recent weeks.


Braithwaite became the first player to leave the Riverside this month when he joined Leganes on loan, but the Danish forward is unlikely to be the only person passing through the exit doors.

Pulis is willing to listen to offers for a number of his senior figures, although Steve Gibson will only allow players to leave if the financial returns are right.

Boro are unlikely to find anyone willing to pay £15m for Britt Assombalonga, but Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede could both be moved on after struggling to gain much game time in the first half of the season.

Similarly, Grant Leadbitter is available, although the club captain recently expressed a desire to remain on Teesside and fight for his place. Paddy McNair’s summer move from Sunderland has not gone to plan, but Pulis is not ready to give up on the Northern Irishman yet.


As well as moving on some established names, Pulis will also use this month as an opportunity to reduce the overall size of his squad.

Connor Ripley joined Preston on a permanent basis after Boro cut short his loan deal at League One side Accrington Stanley. The 25-year-old goalkeeper made just two senior appearances for Boro despite spending almost a decade on the Teessiders' books.

Having recalled Luke Armstrong from a loan spell at Gateshead, and furnished him with a new contract, Boro are set to loan the 22-year-old striker to Accrington Stanley for the remainder of the campaign.

Depending on how their FA Cup campaign progresses with Newport County lying in wait in round four, they could also consider loan moves for Harry Chapman and Stephen Walker towards the end of the window.