Middlesbrough have clinched a deal for Bristol City defender Aden Flint and it looks like impressive business from manager Tony Pulis.
Pulis arrived at Boro midway through last season but despite making big improvements to the side, they ultimately crashed out of the playoffs at the Championship semi-final stage with defeat to Aston Villa.
Fortunately for the Teesside club, they still have parachute payments as a back-up and they head into the new campaign in a far stronger position than last season’s fellow Championship playoff losers.
Boro already had one of the meanest defences under Pulis last term but adding Flint to the mix and pairing him with Ben Gibson would no doubt give them the best central defensive pairing outside the Premier League.
Flint performed excellently with the Robins last season, helping the club reach the League Cup semi-finals and putting them in the playoff mix despite preseason predictions tipping them for a lowly finish.
The 6ft 6inch defender is commanding in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet but above all a real leader both on and off the pitch – the sort of player Pulis thrives.
Gibson already has a captain’s role at Boro therefore adding another leader at the back will only make them tougher and more determined in their bid for automatic promotion this coming season.
Moreover, Flint is a real goal threat at set-pieces, an area which Pulis sides are renowned for practicing meticulously, and he managed to find the net on an incredible nine occasions last term.
At 28, he is at the right sort of age to deal with the expectation of promotion at the Riverside Stadium and Boro can be confident that partnering him with Gibson will contribute to several clean sheets.
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