Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has suggested he will look to avoid signing free agents this summer, due to his concerns over why they might still be without a club at this stage of the campaign.
Warnock’s side have made three permanent signings so far this summer. Defender Grant Hall joined early in the window having been a free-agent following the expiration of his contract with QPR, while Sam Morsy and Chuba Akpom have moved from Wigan and PAOK respectively.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli has joined on loan from Fulham, and Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts is expected to once again move to the Riverside on loan.
Despite that, Middlesbrough are seemingly still keen to add to their squad, although it seems Warnock is reluctant to move into the free-agent market if the club do not get all their business done by the time the market closes for signings between clubs next Friday.
Speaking to The Teesside Gazette about the possibility of bringing free agents to the club, Warnock admitted it is a possibility, but one that he would be concerned about, as he said: “We could still sign players if they are out of contract, but if they are out of contract in the second or third week of October you have to ask the question: Why hasn’t anyone else come in for them?”
As things stand, ‘Boro are currently tenth in the Championship table with five points from their four league games so far this season, and are next in action when they host Reading at The Riverside Stadium on the 17th October.
You can kind of understand the point that Warnock is making here.
Given the need there is for players on the cheap in this climate in particular, you would have to question why a free-agent may still be without a club at this stage of the window, and whether that could affect their ability to make an impact were they to make the move to ‘Boro.
Add to that the fact that any free agent is unlikely to have played for several months now, and therefore may not be match fit, and there would certainly be issues to work around with such deals.
However, it could also be argued that having an extra body to turn to in a position is better to have than not, meaning such a deal could still be worth looking into for clubs such as ‘Boro, if a time comes where injuries and suspensions are really taking their toll.