Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has made no secret about the fact that he wants his side to be giving it a real go next season and targeting promotion back to the Premier League.
However, as was in full evidence last term, Boro’s squad at the moment is some way short of being able to deliver on that ambition. That is something that Warnock himself is all too aware of.
In fact, following the departures of the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Yannik Bolasie, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Marvin Johnson, Jordan Archer and Ashley Fletcher the squad at Warnock’s disposal is now far weaker than it was when the campaign ended just a few weeks ago.
There is though at last starting to be cause for optimism at the Riverside regarding their potential transfer activities amongst the latest transfer reports that are emerging.
It has been reported by Football Insider that Boro are interested in making a move to sign Luton Town midfielder Pelly Ruddock on a free transfer this summer.
It is believed that whilst the Hatters are in negotiations to extend his deal that is about to run down, Boro are prepared to come in with a rival long-term offer to him.
Pelly Ruddock is a signing that would make a lot of sense for Middlesbrough. He is someone that is now a proven Championship quality midfielder having displayed strong and consistent form in the last two seasons with Luton Town.
Crucially, Pelly Ruddock is a winner and is used to being part of Luton squads that are battling for promotion from. That comes with him having played an integral part in helping the Hatters get from the National League to the English second tier.
The 27-year-old is an all-action midfield player and someone that you can see fitting in very well within a Warnock side. Pelly Ruddock would be able to break forwards when Boro have the ball and make things happen in the final third, whilst also having the ability to win the ball back.
That is emphasised by him managing to create nine big chances, average one successful dribble and 1.1 tackles per game, as well as winning 4.5 duels a match for the Hatters last term.
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On top of a potential swoop for Pelly Ruddock, Football League World has revealed that Boro are continuing to monitor the situations of both Charlie Wyke and Denver Hume at Sunderland.
Both players see their current deals run down this summer, although Sunderland’s retained list did confirm that the Black Cats are trying to ensure that both remain at the Stadium of Light and sign new deals before their existing ones come to an end.
Managing to secure Wyke would be a massive positive for Warnock’s side, and would provide Middlesbrough with a target man that they could rely on to hold the ball up and also finish off chances that come his way in the penalty area.
There are others in the race for Wyke, so beating other teams that are interested in him which include the likes of Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City would be a massive statement of intent.
Hume is also a player that would be able to come into the Riverside and offer a lot of potential and the ability to provide competition and cover in the full-back positions.
The 22-year-old has shown glimpses of his talent but needs a manager like Warnock to get hold of him and demand that real consistency from him.
Football Insider have also reported that Boro alongside Preston North End have joined the race for Cambridge United’s Paul Mullin. The forward is set to be a free agent this summer off the back of an excellent season where he fired in 32 league goals in League Two.
It would be a gamble to bring him in and expect him to repeat that form in the Championship, but Mullin would arrive with a lot of confidence and he is someone that would have the right attitude and be willing to put a real shift in for Warnock’s side week in week out.
If Middlesbrough manage to get all of these four players into the club, then suddenly their squad will be looking much better placed to realise their ambitions for next term.