Back in the summer of 2014, Middlesbrough fans were understandably more interested in the arrivals of Adam Clayton and Yanic Wildschut than the departure of a little-known teenager by the name of Birger Meling.
But five years on, the decision to release a diminutive Norwegian with a shock of bottle-blond hair looks like one of the more questionable personnel decisions made during Aitor Karanka’s reign at Riverside.
After all, Meling has gone from strength to strength since that ill-fated spell in the North East. Not only is the 24-year-old now an established international with ten Norway caps to his name, he has also lifted the league title on two occasions with the Scandinavian giants of Rosenborg.
And it’s a testament to how far Meling has come that, according to the Scottish Sun, Celtic have made him their top target to fill the massive Kieran Tierney-shaped void in their defence.
A modern-day club-legend who moved to Arsenal for £25 million, Tierney’s departure devastated supporters and Neil Lennon alike but the swashbuckling Meling certainly shares a few similarities - namely great athletic ability and game-changing quality in the final third.
Should Meling return to Britain and lift trophy aplenty in the green and white of Celtic, Middlesbrough supporters will be understandably wondering what might have been – even if Jonathan Woodgate can call upon George Friend, Hayden Coulson and Marc Bola at left-back.
To make matters worse, Boro tried and failed to re-sign Meling just 13 months ago, according to Dagbladet. This feels like a classic case of a club letting a talented young player slip through the net.
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