Tony Pulis has described Middlesbrough’s recruitment before his arrival at the club as ‘disastrous’.
The Teessiders were relegated from the Premier League in 2017 and spent a substantial amount on players such as Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite, Ashley Fletcher, Darren Randolph and Marvin Johnson.
These arrivals came to the club for big transfer fees and wages more likened to that of a Premier League player – representing something of a gamble from the North East side.
Garry Monk was in charge during the summer of 2017 but was sacked just six months later with Tony Pulis coming in to the club to move the team forward and challenge for promotion.
Will Middlesbrough avoid relegation from the Championship?
But during his 18 months in charge of the club, the former West Brom was tasked with leading the team while the club tried to undo the significant financial outlay of that summer – something which is still happening to this day as Middlesbrough find funds at a premium as they struggle for survival in the Championship.
Speaking on BBC 5Live, Pulis said: “Recruitment is everything.
“The window Middlesbrough had before I joined was probably the most disastrous one that the football club have ever had.
“It takes two or three years for a club to recover from that kind of window.
“Because if you have a bad window and bring in players who have not performed and they are on enormous amounts of money, who else is going to take them?
“You are very, very lucky if you can get rid of them, especially a whole group of them. You might be talking about six or seven players earning big wages. Who will take them?
“The other thing is that you have to balance is are you going to get your money back if you do sell them?
“Football clubs are run as a business as well and chairmen look at these players and think ‘we are not going to sell him for half the price we paid for him’ after just 12 months.
“Then you think ‘the kid hasn’t shown it in the first year but he might show it in the next’ and then you get yourself in a whirlwind. It is very dangerous when you get caught in it.”
Can you identify these Middlesbrough players based on their date of birth and birthplace? Have a go!
There’s no doubting that the summer of 2017 has had a negative impact on the club’s fortune.
Spending such sums on fees and wages represented a huge gamble from the club as they looked to secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
But instead, three years on, Middlesbrough find themselves fighting to avoid relegation from the league.
If the Teessiders go down there will be huge questions asked over the club’s transfer activity, as relegation to League One would see the club in the third tier for the first time in over 30 years.