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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough last played Premier League football in 2008/09 and are just 9/4 to make an immediate return to the Championship next season. However, Boro boss Aitor Karanka has made a raft of new signings as he seeks to bolster his squad ahead of the new season.

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has signed a two-year deal with the Premier League newcomers and will be joined at the Riverside Stadium by former Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who has has signed on a two-year deal after being released by United in June. Other recent additions include defenders Bernado Espinosa from Sporting and Antonio Barragan from Valencia, defensive midfielder Marten de Roon from Atalanta, winger Viktor Fischer from Ajax and striker Alvaro Negredo, also from Valencia, on season-long loan. Karanka has said he’s in no hurry to make further signings, but remains interested in Cardiff City defender Fabio Da Silva.

Captain Grant Leadbitter will miss the start of the Premier League season with a hernia problem and, in his absence, Karanka will do well to lick his new-look squad into shape, ready for the visit of Stoke City on the opening day, although pre-season results offer cause for optimism. Odds of 1,500/1 to win the Premier League title are probably not overgenerous but, more realistically, Boro are 9/1 to finish in the top ten and 66/1 to repeat their 2004 League Cup triumph.

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