Late last week, it was confirmed that Chelsea starlet Lewis Baker was set for another loan spell away from Stamford Bridge, this time at Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough, who head up the list of favourites for promotion from the second tier this season.
Baker is effectively taking the place of Dutchman Marten de Roon in Boro’s midfield ranks, after the 26-year-old returned to Italian outfit Atlanta after just one season on Teesside.
However, while de Roon was an energetic but functional midfielder, recruited for a season of struggle and matches spent on the back foot in the Premier League, Baker is perfect for an assault on the top of the Championship, where Boro will be expected to win most weeks.
Despite an impressive summer of recruitment, where forward options appear to have been the order of the day for former Leeds United manager Monk, a feeling still persisted that Boro’s midfield options lacked the necessary creativity to provide their mouth-watering frontline with enough chances to win matches, especially if they are to face massed ranks in defence, from teams who would be happy to leave the Riverside Stadium with a point.
By bringing in Baker, effectively in place of de Roon – for a healthy profit, it must be said – Monk has added a player capable of providing a moment of magic or dictating a game, both of which will be vital if Middlesbrough are to become a force in the second tier this season.
He is also hungry to prove what he can do to his parent club – despite the fact that Blues boss Antonio Conte is short on players, he has still allowed Baker to leave and that should inspire the England Under 21 international to put in a season’s worth of strong performances, to show he is worthy of a spot in the first team at Stamford Bridge.
All of this bodes well for Middlesbrough.
Boro fans – are you happy with the signing of Baker? How big a role can he play this season? Let us know in the comments below…