'Real blow': Legendary ex-striker regrets sale of player to West Ham

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:A General View of the Stadium Bowl before the Premier League match between West Ham United and Crystal Palace at London Stadium on October 5, 2019 in London,...

West Ham United brought Darren Randolph back to the Premier League during the January transfer window from Championship outfit Middlesbrough.

Darren Randolph signs for West Ham United at Rush Green on January 15, 2020 in Romford, England.

Middlesbrough legend Bernie Slaven admits he was frustrated to see Darren Randolph sold to West Ham United during the January transfer window, describing the goalkeeper’s departure as a ‘real blow’ when speaking to Teesside Live.

The Republic of Ireland international was arguably the best shot-stopper in the Championship last season but, with Boro pressured to raise funds under the steely gaze of Financial Fair Play, an underachieving side had little choice but to cash in when West Ham came calling.

The Premier League outfit paid £4 million to bring Randolph back for a second spell at the London Stadium and, despite conceding five times a pair of subsequent top-flight fixtures, the 32-year-old has been praised for his impact between the sticks.

 

Slaven, though, feels that Middlesbrough would have been better off with an international shot-stopper plying his trade at the Riverside.

“We all know the financial situation and plenty of Boro fans feared a January fire sale,” said the former striker, who sits sixth on the list of Middlesbrough’s all-time goalscorers.

“Darren Randolph went and I was disappointed with that. He’s a good player and to lose him was a real blow.”

Dublin , Ireland - 18 November 2019; Darren Randolph of Republic of Ireland during the UEFA EURO2020 Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Fortunately for Boro, Randolph’s exit has coincided with the rapid rise of Ainsley Pears. The Durham-born 21-year-old has really caught the eye in a breakthrough season and now faces competition from Dejan Stankovic, who arrived from St Gallen in January to provide competition for the number one shirt.

Randolph, meanwhile, looks set for a prolonged spell on the bench at West Ham after regular number one Lukasz Fabianski returned from injury.

Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph (23) dives as Albert Adomah (37) of Aston Villa scoots and scores to make it 3-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and...

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