DESPITE the Championship campaign drawing to a close just three days ago, Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is already making contact with potential transfer targets ahead of next season.

The Boro boss is wasting no time in attempting to piece his squad together after holding face-to-face talks with the playing squad yesterday to inform them of their futures. Sol Bamba, Lee Peltier and Neil Taylor have all been released and Wilder has promised that their will be further departures but is yet to disclose which players have been placed on the transfer list.

He’s described the process as a ‘big rebuild’ and has promised sweeping changes will be made.

As Wilder, Head of Football Kieran Scott and other recruitment staff get to work on bringing new players to the club, there is an acknowledge that there has to be a balancing act. As we saw yesterday, that act is already in full flow.

The Boro boss said: “From the players point of view, we are trying to maximise their value as well but players coming in through the summer, which I think is going to be a huge excitement to us all because I think we can attract some really good players to the football club. With that, we have to balance that off as well.

“There will be deals that will be done. I’m speaking to agents club-to-club and I do think it’s important that we maximise the value of the players that won’t really be part of the journey.

“That will, in time, come to fruition and come to light for everybody.

“Some players need to go out and further their careers. Some of the younger players we’ve talked to and won’t be part of the journey. Some we feel won’t be part of the journey through certain situations and areas I want to improve and I think that we need to improve.”

The Northern Echo: Chris Wilder (left) and Kieran Scott (right).Chris Wilder (left) and Kieran Scott (right).

The process of identifying targets for the summer has been in practice for a number of months. Boro have been exploring options abroad with the club’s recruitment staff recently identifying the German and Dutch leagues to potentially scout new talents.

Wilder is no stranger to making quick decisions on his squad following the end of a season. During his time in charge of Sheffield United, he released five players and place seven others on the transfer list three days after they sealed promotion to the Premier League back in 2019. It appears he hasn’t changed in his ways three years on.

“There is always a reason behind these decisions. They are not nice decisions but they are reasons for the benefit of the football club” he continued.

“This has been an ongoing process since I walked through the door. You can’t change everything overnight but there is going to be quite a few changes. That’s what I talked about after the game on Saturday and that’s what will happen.

“You have to be ruthless and strong in your decisions and there has to be clarity in that as well.

“Players know exactly where they are. Retained players know exactly what they need to work on so that has been part of the conversations today. What they need to do in the summer to make them better, to make us all better so we’re not just missing out. We’re hitting the targets we want to hit.”

As Boro look to mobilise a squad capable of mounting a push for promotion next season, the manage admits scenes at Deepdale only added to his motivation to succeed.

Over 5,000 supporters were in attendance on the final day of the season as Boro were beaten comfortably 4-1 against Preston North End. He feels they deserve more.

“We have a final day situation like we did on Saturday where we have magnificent support who deserve to be in the Premier League, there is no doubt about that” he added.

“One of the things everybody recognised on Saturday was the huge level of support and that we have received right the way through since I’ve been here. I wanted to reward them by putting together a team that will take us to the next level.

“The owner knows exactly where we are with it. He knows that we need to bring players in to give us a fighting chance of getting back in the division. With that comes big decisions about players that aren’t going to be part of the journey.”

Elsewhere, Boro captain Jonny Howson has been offered a new deal at the club. The 33-year-old midfielder has spent five years on Teesside and made over 200 appearances.