The gap in Middlesbrough’s fixture list offers the perfect time to make preparations for the summer ahead.
The Teessiders are currently well positioned to avoid relegation, but being just two points from the drop zone with nine games to go means that there’s work still to be done.
Many supporters will have been hoping to higher up the table but that just hasn’t looked viable at any point through the season.
Excluding a brief upturn at the end of 2019, Middlesbrough haven’t shown the kind of consistency that would see them push for the top half of the table and beyond.
The hope is that next season the club will be looking to establish themselves in the upper echelons of the table, but for that to happen it’s likely that new additions will be needed.
But who could Middlesbrough look to sign? We look at two January targets who may be on the Teessiders’ radar again this summer.
The future of Ben Gibson doesn’t appear to be any clearer now than it was at the start of the year.
The defender is still training with the Middlesbrough squad following his fallout with parent club Burnley, and so it appears that his days at Turf Moor are number.
A move back to Teesside is surely appealing to both parties given the player’s affinity for the club and the role that he played in Middlesbrough’s success under Aitor Karanka.
Of course it’s the finances behind a permanent or loan deal that could be tricky as Middlesbrough look to cut their cloth.
But regardless of whether a move is completed it’s almost certainly one that both parties will pursue as a potential option.
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The Manchester City man arrived at Middlesbrough on a loan deal until the summer, and it’d be no surprise to see the club replicate that interest again in the summer.
Despite suffering with an injury at present, Roberts has already shown enough during his time at the club to know that he’s exactly the sort of player that Jonathan Woodgate needs.
Attacking players of quality are few and far between in the first team squad and therefore the club would be foolish not to pursue him as an option.
Woodgate has already hinted that he’d be interested in renewing the loan agreement, however this would clearly be in the hands of his parent club.
That said, if City were hoping to allow their player to be the main man at a club of a decent level, surely Middlesbrough would be a decent option.