Middlesbrough Opinion: Why Hosam Aiesh would be a top signing for Boro?
According to a report from Sky Sports, Middlesbrough are one of the number of clubs interested in Ostersunds FK star, Hosam Aiesh.
The Gothenburg-born winger made his debut for the Swedish national team earlier this year, and it seems only a matter of time before Hosam Aiesh bids farewell to the Allsvenskan with interest on the rise.
Despite his 2019 not being so good due to injuries and lack of form, Middlesbrough must table a bid for the 24-year-old Ostersunds FK just cannot reject.
Middlesbrough appointed Jonathan Woodgate as their new manager last week, with the 39-year-old replacing Tony Pulis at the Riverside Stadium. Woodgate will be keen to change the team’s style of play which was dour and uninspiring under Pulis. Boro scored only 49 goals last season, which was lesser than relegated Rotherham’s tally of 52 goals.
Clearly, the Teesside-based club must sign quality forwards if they are to realistically push for promotion under Woodgate next term.
Boro would definitely benefit from adding depth to their attacking options, with Britt Assombalonga, Jordan Hugill, Rudy Gestede and Ashley Fletcher being the recognised striking options available to Woodgate at the moment.
Therefore, Middlesbrough must go all out to sign Hosam Aiesh, who is a player in demand, with real quality. Aiesh is one of the best talents emerging from Swedish football that could have a great future and may succeed if given the chance in England.
He’s a winger by trade with explosive pace and agility, while he can also operate as a centre-forward if required.
The Sweden international is a player who plays near to the edge of the opposition penalty area, as an advanced playmaker or inside forward, where he can hurt teams with his vision, incisive passing and dribbling.
He is known for his trickery, whilst his pace and technical qualities will surely endear him to the Boro faithful too.
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Aiesh would bring in the energy and speed down the wide areas that Boro lost following the departure of Adama Traore to Wolves last season. Certainly, the 24-year-old has the qualities to supply the firepower needed to take the Teessiders to new heights in the 2019/20 campaign.
Aiesh could be looking for a fresh challenge this summer having spent his entire career playing in Sweden. Landing the one-cap Sweden international would be a remarkable coup for Woodgate and would highlight that Middlesbrough means business next season.
6 big-money Premier League flops who arrived from the Dutch Eredivisie
6 big-money Eredivisie flops in the Premier League
The Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy and Ligue 1 in France are generally accepted as the top five leagues in Europe and almost all the legendary figures to have graced the beautiful game over the past century have probably been a part of these elite leagues in the continent.
Owing to the plentiful riches on offer, the commercial appeal of the game, the diversity, the Premier League has been widely branded by the players and the media as arguably the most attractive league in Europe.
The other four in the list are not far behind either, although there is a lot of difference in relation to the level of competition, the overall style of play, as well as the kind of cash inflow in each of the elite leagues in Europe.
With that in mind, however, the Dutch Eredivisie, despite the rich footballing heritage, is not really considered as one of the most competitive leagues in the continent.
Yes, the Dutch top-flight continues to be a reliable breeding ground for top young talents but when it comes to the level of competition and the quality of the game, it is not really up there with the very best.
That doesn’t mean there is a shortage of talent in Holland but a large section of the English fans view the top-scorers arriving in the Premier League from the Eredivisie with suspicion.
That might seem a bit absurd considering the fact Dutch strikers Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie dominated the Premier League for a number of years since the turn of the decade, whilst Dennis Bergkamp had done the same in the late 90s.
To be honest, this kind of sceptical perception doesn’t really make sense given that Eredivisie imports to the Premier League have often offered great value for money, with Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Luis Suarez being some of the prime examples.
However, looking at things from another perspective, the failure of certain players arriving from the Eredivisie to live up to the expectations in the Premier League has somewhat tarnished the image of Dutch football over the past decade.
Keeping that in mind, let us take a look at some of the big-money flops who arrived in England from the Netherlands with a lot of promise but never really found their feet.
1. Afonso Alves (Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, 2008)
This is probably the transfer that marked a revolutionary change in the perception of strikers arriving from the Eredivisie, as the Brazilian international stunned the Boro fans with his spectacular failure in front of goal.
Alves was one of the hottest striking properties in Europe at that moment of time when Middlesbrough splashed a staggering £12.5million to sign him from Dutch club Heerenveen in January 2018, where he plundered 34 goals in 31 Eredivisie outings in the 2006-07 campaign.
The Brazilian came in with the reputation of being a bonafide goalscorer and made a bright start to life on Teesside, scoring 6 in his first 11 Premier League appearances in the second half of the 2007-08 season, including a hat-trick in an 8-1 victory over Man City.
However, he failed to build on that positive start and faded away from the thick of things in the following season, finding the net just 4 times over the course of 31 league appearances.
A tally of 10 goals in 42 Premier League outings wasn’t much to write home about for Alves and Middlesbrough. Having spent a large portion of their transfer budget on the Brazilian, they suffered relegation to the Championship just 16 months after signing him.
2. Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland, 2013)
The United States international’s ill-fated loan spell at Hull City from Villarreal was eclipsed by a scintillating 23-goal season in the Eredivisie at AZ Alkmaar.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, who was seemingly convinced of the player’s talent and potential, brought him back to the Premier League in the summer of 2013.
A quick, powerful and physically imposing forward, Altidore was tipped by many to be a massive hit in England but he failed miserably and found the net only once in 42 Premier League outings before the Black Cats eventually shipped him out to MLS outfit Toronto FC in 2015.
With such a conversion rate, he is bound to go down as one of the worst strikers ever in the history of the Premier League. Altidore though, did recover from his setbacks in England and he is currently racking up the goals in his homeland.
3. Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven to Man United, 2015)
Regarded as one of the burgeoning young talents in Europe at that time, Depay’s stocks were soaring sky-high in the summer of 2015, having come off a successful campaign in the Eredivisie which saw him top the scoring charts with 22 goals in 30 league outings.
Louis van Gaal, who was then in charge of Man United, forked out £25million to sign the speedster.
However, the Dutchman struggled to get to grips with the English game and failed to deliver the goods at Old Trafford, scoring only twice in 33 Premier League outings.
That is certainly better than Altidore’s record but Depay was deemed surplus to demands by new manager Jose Mourinho and was ultimately sold to Lyon in 2017.
Depay didn’t take long to rediscover his old free-scoring self in the Ligue 1 and he continues to be one of the most devastating attackers in Europe.
4. Vincent Janssen (AZ Alkmaar to Spurs, 2016)
Vincent Janssen topped the scoring charts in the Eredivisie with 27 goals for AZ Alkmaar in the 2015-16 season and bagged the Johann Cruyff Trophy (an award given to the Dutch Talent of the Year) before completing a £17m move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2016. And we all know what followed.
The free-scoring Dutch star was brought in to compete with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for a spot in the line-up but he largely cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines and started only 7 Premier League games in his debut season.
As a matter of fact, he never started another Premier League game for Spurs after his horrible first season and managed to score twice in 31 league outings before putting an end to his ill-fated spell in North London this summer, with Mexican club Monterrey offering him an escape route.
Janssen has enough reason to defend his failures, considering that he wasn’t allowed much game time by manager Mauricio Pochettino.
5. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar to Brighton and Hove Albion, 2018)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s struggles in the Premier League over the past twelve months is the latest instance to remind the fans that goals in Holland are not exchangeable for ones in England, so much so that the top-scorers in the Eredivisie might completely fail to find the net in the Premier League.
The Iranian’s tally of 21 goals in the 2017-18 season at AZ Alkmaar earned him a big-money move to the Premier League with Brighton but a disastrous debut campaign on the south coast of England, which was blighted to a large extent by injuries, saw him draw a complete blank in 19 appearances for the Seagulls.
Jahanbskhsh, however, has time to rediscover his form and prove his critics wrong.
5 instances in the recent past where promoted PL sides recruited heavily including Bournemouth
Revisiting 5 instances in the recent past where promoted Premier League sides have recruited heavily
It is not very often that we see a promoted side in the Premier League splash the cash as extravagantly as Fulham did last summer.
The Cottagers apparently had little trust in the squad that got them promoted to the top-flight and owner Shahid Khan didn’t hesitate to loosen his purse strings to bring in radical reinforcements through the door at Craven Cottage.
As a matter of fact, Fulham signed anybody and everybody as a part of their summer spending spree, with as many as 15 new players arriving at the club prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.
The Cottagers made the headlines multiple times during the transfer window, with deals for Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jean Michael-Seri, Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan and Maxime Le Marchand, while several others like Andre Schurrle, Luciano Vietto, Callum Chambers, Sergio Rico and Timothy Fosu-Mensah came through the door on loan.
Well, the result was there for everybody to see, as Fulham went straight back down to the Championship following a dreadful run in the Premier League this past season which saw the Cottagers finish 19th on the table.
Despite boasting of one of the strongest squads outside the top-six in the entire division, Fulham managed only 7 victories over the course of the campaign and finished with a humiliating defensive record.
The sidelining of several of those who had played a key role in the promotion-winning campaign and the subsequent unplanned recruitment of stars from the foreign leagues proved to be the major reason behind Fulham’s decapitulation in the Premier League.
Slavisa Jokanovic, Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker tried their level best to bring all the new signings together and assemble a functioning unit but they failed miserably.
Fulham hardly learnt from their mistakes in the summer and brought in a few more players during the January window, with the likes of Havard Nordveit, Ryan Babel and Lazar Markovic joining the crew of a ship that was more than half-sunk by that time.
Things hardly changed for them and Fulham’s 2018-19 debacle in the Premier League proved to be a classic example of what sort of an approach any promoted team should avoid in the transfer window.
Interestingly, it has been seen in the recent past that mass recruitment can actually pay the dividends if things are planned correctly.
It is true that there is no guaranteed recipe for success as far as the promoted teams are concerned, with some opting to show confidence in the bunch that get them promoted, while others choose to bring in radical reinforcements in order to enhance their chances of survival.
As unforgiving as the Premier League can be for the newcomers sometimes, it is important for all teams to establish the right kind of balance between investing in fresh faces and getting the best out of the existing ones, something that Fulham failed to do.
Let us take a look back at some of the instances in the recent past when promoted teams chose to splash the cash heavily and their corresponding consequences.
1. Huddersfield Town (2017-18)
David Wagner guided Huddersfield Town to the Premier League via the playoffs at the end of the 2016-17 season and the Terriers brought in as many as 13 new players in the summer prior to the start of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
The spending spree included deals for the likes of Aaron Mooy from Man City and Steve Mounie from Montpellier, while Laurent Depoitre, Elias Kachunga, Mathias Jorgensen, Tom Ince, Scott Malone and Abdelhamid Sabiri arrived too.
Florent Hadergjonaj, Jonas Lossl and Kasey Palmer arrived on loan deals to add extra depth and quality to the squad.
Huddersfield’s ploy of mass recruitment paid immediate dividends in their quest for survival as the Terriers racked up back-to-back victories against Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in their first two games.
Despite suffering a dip in form towards the end of the year, the Terriers strung together victories against West Brom and Brighton, whilst also completing a giant-killing feat against Manchester United.
In January, they once again dipped into the transfer window to bring in Alex Pritchard and Terrence Kongolo, as three wins since the turn of the year proved enough to steer the club to safety.
Truth be told, manager David Wagner played a key role in preserving the club’s top-flight status and the German-American’s feat of rare charisma and brilliance earned him plaudits.
2. Watford (2015-16)
Watford’s impatience with managers is well-known and it was once again evident from the way they went about things in the Championship in the 2014-15 season.
A combined effort from four different managers Beppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia, Billy McKinlay and Slavisa Jokanovic, coupled with Odion Ighalo’s heroics in front of goal propelled the Hornets to automatic promotion.
Owner Gino Pozzo and the hierarchy showed little confidence in the existing players and the club opted for a massive overhaul of the squad, although most of the players came either came in on free transfers or for thrifty figures.
Watford’s summer business included the acquisition of Juanfran from Real Betis, Jose Holebas from Roma, Etienne Capoue from Spurs, Steven Berghuis from AZ Alkmaar, Valon Behrami, Adlene Guedioura, Adalberto Penaranda, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan Nyom, while others like Miguel Britos and Sebastien Prodl arrived for free.
Nathan Ake and Victor Ibarbo, as well as Italian international Alessandro Diamanti, came through the door at Vicarage Road on season-long loan deals. Quique Flores was entrusted with the job of assembling a rather new-looking Watford side and he didn’t disappoint.
Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney’s strong performances ensured that Watford didn’t face a relegation scare, with the Hornets racking up as many as 8 wins and 5 draws before the end of the year to virtually guarantee survival.
Despite a late slump in form, Watford cruised to a mid-table 13th-place finish and proved that mass recruitment with a measured approach can actually produce positive returns.
3. Bournemouth (2015-16)
Bournemouth’s blistering run of form in the 2014-15 season of the Championship saw them finish as the undisputed winners and the Cherries secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, thus marking the beginning of an unprecedented rise in English football.
Callum Wilson’s 20-goal season was one of the main reasons behind their success but Eddie Howe chose to bring in reinforcements in a bid to preserve the club’s newly-acquired top-flight status.
A summer of heavy spending that marked the arrival of signings like Tyrone Mings and Max-Alain Gradel, while others like Joshua King, Lee Tomlin and Glen Murray came in for thrifty amounts.
Artur Boruc and Sylvain Distin were brought in on free transfers to add experience to the ranks, while the likes of Christian Atsu, Filippo Costa, Joe Bennett and Tomas Andrade made their way to the Vitality Stadium on loan deals.
The decision to bring in too many new players seemed to backfire as the Cherries only managed two victories until the end of November.
However, a remarkable upturn of form in December inspired the team to victories against Man United, Chelsea and West Brom before they spent big once again in January to bring in the likes of Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban from Wolves and Norwich respectively.
In the end, Bournemouth huffed and puffed to a 16th-place finish as Howe somehow managed to steer the club to safety and in the process, laying down a solid platform from where they could carve out a reputation for themselves in the Premier League.
4. Middlesbrough (2016-17)
Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time since their relegation back in 2008-09 but their stay in the top-flight proved to be nothing more than a passing shower, as their transfer policy of signing established and successful players failed to pay the dividends.
The likes of Gaston Ramirez, Victor Valdes, Brad Guzan and Bernardo Espinosa were brought in on free transfers to add experience to the ranks, while Marten de Roon and Adama Traore were regarded as exciting additions to the squad.
Others like Alvaro Negredo and Calum Chambers arrived at Teesside as loanees, with the former going on to top the scoring charts with 10 goals in the Premier League.
Manager Aitor Karanka further invested heavily in January to bring in Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede in a bid to bolster his misfiring forward line but that didn’t yield positive results either and Boro finished 19th in the standings with just 5 wins over the course of the campaign.
In the end, Boro bowed out of the Premier League after scoring just 27 goals, leaving many to wonder as to why the club spent so much money to bring in so many attackers.
5. Queens Park Rangers (2012-13)
QPR’s approach in the transfer window upon securing promotion to the Premier League evoked plenty of criticism from the pundits, as the club simply appeared to recruit ageing stars solely based on their past reputation and records.
They signed as many as 18 new players over the course of the campaign, with several high-profile players like Julio Cesar, Andy Johnson, Park Ji-Sung, Jose Bosingwa, Esteban Granero, Loic Remy, Stephane Mbia, Christopher Samba, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend and Robert Green coming through the doors at Loftus Road.
Such a policy was always going to be risky given that most of the players were simply past their prime, while others lacked the quality to make a significant impact.
Harry Redknapp and then Mark Hughes tried to pull the group of ageing legs to safety but they were never going to get anywhere close to ensuring survival as QPR went straight back to the second-tier after finishing at the bottom of the standings.
It was an eye-opener for the other promoted teams and a reminder that bringing in experienced players solely based on reputation can never guarantee success.
It is high time for Middlesbrough to cut their losses on this lacklustre £6m star and this is why
Middlesbrough Opinion: Boro need to cut their losses on Rudy Gestede this summer
According to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough are looking to bring in a new striker this summer to bolster their ranks, with new manager Jonathan Woodgate keen to complete an overhaul of the club’s attacking options before the next seasons gets underway.
Woodgate, though, has vowed to extract the best out of the club’s existing attacking options, suggesting that the likes of Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher are likely to play a big role next season. (h/t Teesside Live)
However, the report claims that Boro will be open to offers for former Aston Villa man Rudy Gestede, while they will also be looking to offload Martin Braithwaite on a permanent basis. Braithwaite has spent the last couple of seasons on loan but it is understood that Boro want to move him on this summer in order o raise some valuable funds.
Middlesbrough finished 7th in the Championship this past season and narrowly missed out on securing a playoff spot, with lack of goals being one of the major talking points from their unsuccessful campaign under Tony Pulis.
Boro shared the joint best defensive record with Sheffield United in the division but their goalscoring record was less than impressive, having scored only 49 goals in 46 games.
Boro’s promotion-chasing rivals outscored them with ease last season and it is a no-brainer that new boss Woodgate needs to focus on the recruitment of a new striker prior to the start of the upcoming season.
Assombalonga’s tally of 14 goals in the Championship last term was certainly impressive but that wasn’t enough to propel the club to the playoffs, meaning that Boro need more men up front to contribute with goals and assists.
While bringing in fresh faces continues to be high on the manager’s wishlist, Middlesbrough need to get some lacklustre attackers off their books. Assombalonga and Fletcher are expected to be a part of Woodgate’s plans moving forward but the same cannot be said of Rudy Gestede, whilst Boro also need to find a permanent solution to the Braithwaite problem.
Gestede, who joined Middlesbrough from Aston Villa back in January 2017 for a fee of £6 million, has proven himself to an absolute disaster for the Teessiders. The 30-year-old Beninese international has just managed a paltry 49 appearances in all competitions for Boro over the course of two-and-a-half seasons, finding the net on only 6 occasions in the process.
As a matter of fact, Middlesbrough should never have spent that sort of money on an erratic and impetuous striker with such a poor injury record. Gestede’s strike rate of 10 goals in 55 appearances at Villa Park was equally unimpressive and it was always going to be a huge gamble for Boro to bring him in at that point of time.
Gestede’s most prolific spell in English football came at Blackburn Rovers, where the striker netted 35 goals in 72 appearances. However, he hasn’t been able to get anywhere near those figures at Teesside and it is a no-brainer that Middlesbrough haven’t got much out of the £6 million that they spent on him.
The towering 6ft. 4-inch hitman, now 30, has only 12 months remaining on his current contract at Middlesbrough, meaning that this summer would be the last realistic chance for the club to sell him and recoup a fraction of the money that they had spent to bring him to the club.
Realistically speaking, Gestede might be a tall and strong target man inside the box but he lacks the general finesse and skills of a striker and Middlesbrough certainly need better players up front to challenge for promotion. The 30-year-old started only once in the Championship the last term and it is pretty clear that injuries have pushed him down the pecking order at the club.
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Keeping that in mind, Boro should not hesitate to cut their losses on him this summer itself, as waiting till January would make little sense.
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