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Opinion: Chris Wilder’s first piece of Middlesbrough transfer business should be to secure deal for veteran defender

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Middlesbrough made a very ambitious move this past week to bring Chris Wilder to their club – and you’d imagine he’s going to be backed to make the changes he sees fit at the Riverside.

Veteran manager Neil Warnock was expected to leave the club at the end of the current season anyway, but chairman Steve Gibson brought that forward as he had managed to convince Wilder to take the reins.

It seemed like a bit of a brutal way for Warnock to go out, especially after a 1-1 draw with high-flying West Brom, but it had been agreed before the match and now the club must move on.

It’s only been a few months since the summer transfer window closed and it was one where the club seemingly strengthened for the most part – you could only really say the departures of Sam Morsy and George Saville were ones that could be questioned and Djed Spence’s loan to Nottingham Forest was also a strange one.

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Incoming-wise though the permanent additions of Martin Payero, Matt Crooks, Uche Ikpeazu and Sol Bamba amongst others were accompanied by loan deals for Andraz Sporar, James Lea Siliki and Onel Hernandez to seemingly put the squad in a healthy position.

That’s not quite how things have transpired though as injuries have hit Boro – especially in defence where central midfielders and full-backs have often had to deputise in the unfamiliar position of centre-back.

This could be the first area that Wilder targets and if there’s one man he’s going to go for then surely it will be Chris Basham?

Wilder will surely use his 3-5-2 system that for the most part was so successful at Sheffield United and Basham as an overlapping centre-back was a key cog of his unit.

Basham was always a regular under Wilder and scored four times in the season the Blades were promoted to the Premier League in 2019, but Slavisa Jokanovic has demoted him to third-choice behind the pairing of John Egan and Ben Davies.

The 33-year-old is still getting game-time at Bramall Lane due to Davies being absent recently, but when the Liverpool loanee is healthy again Basham will likely head straight back to the bench.

Question have been asked of the veteran in a pairing instead of a back three, as it seems that the latter system is one that really suits him.

January 2022 is a really important month for Basham as well as he will find himself out of contract at the Blades at the end of the season, which could make a move by Wilder a pretty simple one to accept should it happen.

If Basham isn’t going to be a first-choice at the Yorkshire club then it’s unlikely that an extension will be offered and you’d imagine he’d jump at the chance to work with Wilder once again.

It would only be a short-term solution to Middlesbrough’s lack of depth at centre-back but it could give Paddy McNair the freedom to move into midfield and it would be a welcome sight to see Basham bombing down the right flank again in the Championship instead of being stuck at the back.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Chris Wilder’s first piece of Middlesbrough transfer business should be to secure deal for veteran defender

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