Middlesbrough will head into the new Championship season as one of the favourites for promotion after a summer of big spending on Teesside.
The North East outfit suffered relegation from the Premier League last season after winning just five of their 38 games, eventually ending up 19th in the division and 12 points adrift from safety.
The man who led them to the top tier, Aitor Karanka, lost his job back in March after winning just four of his 27 league matches in charge, although Steve Agnew fared little better, and they were subsequently relegated after a 3-0 defeat to champions Chelsea on May 8.
Yet optimism has been restored following the appointment of former Leeds boss Garry Monk, who led the Whites to a seventh place finish last term, but was unable to agree a new long-term deal with owner Andrea Radrizzani.
And the 38-year-old has already been busy overhauling the Boro squad, and having spent £15 million on Britt Assombalonga, £9 million on Martin Braithwaite, and £5 million on Darren Randolph, they are making clear their intentions to be battling for promotion next term.
And they could be adding to their squad in the coming days as recent reports suggest that they are close to landing West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher.
The 21-year-old has struggled to force his way into Slaven Bilic’s plans at the London Stadium, with his 20 appearances for the club last season comprising of just three starts.
And his difficulties in East London have attracted interest from Monk’s Middlesbrough, who are reportedly willing to spend £6.5 million on the youngster’s services.
Unsurprisingly, this is news that has stimulated quite the response from Boro supporters on Twitter, who are somewhat stunned that their side are willing to shell out a sizable sum of money on someone who has scored just ten senior goals in his career…
— Josh Catterson (@TheJCTrain) July 26, 2017
Boro fans please note the deal for Fletcher will be a maximum of 7mil if all clauses are achieved over a 4yr contract. #boro
— John Hammett (@JohnHammett3) July 27, 2017
Just the type of signing #boro need. Pace with END PRODUCT! Assombolonga Striker, Braithwaite Inside Left, Fletcher Inside Right!
— Tom Metcalfe (@TomMboro) July 26, 2017
7 million tho.
— aidan. (@VintageClayts) July 26, 2017
Surely 6.5mill of that is for potential? As he’s proved nothing
— Glenn Colin Melvin (@glenncm2812) July 26, 2017
Maybe £7m now will be a wise investment in a yrs time .
— simon priestley (@Northernheat123) July 26, 2017
— (@ImBigHeadReece) July 26, 2017
Underwhelmed. £7m for a non scoring forward. I thought we had moved on from those.
— Andrew Richards (@arichards1966) July 26, 2017
Even if we pay 7m for fletcher, by the time gaston goes we have only spent 18m net. Not bad in my opinion. #Boro
— Andy Mallaby (@andy_mallaby) July 26, 2017