View: Middlesbrough would beat Championship rivals in race for 29-year-old ‘unplayable’ star

View: Middlesbrough would beat Championship rivals in race for 29-year-old ‘unplayable’ star

Now that the dust has settled on the 2023/24 season, Middlesbrough will already be thinking about how they can improve their side for next season.

After finishing third the previous season, Michael Carrick may have been unhappy that Middlesbrough did not make the play-offs this season, as they finished eighth.

Boro had a terrible season, losing their first seven league games and dealing with several injuries.

It will undoubtedly be a hectic summer at the club, with outgoings and potential incomings to bolster the ranks.

Money could be tight again at The Riverside, but signing an out-of-contract Championship stalwart could be very wise business for the Teesside club.

Middlesbrough should target Alan Browne

The player in question is Alan Browne of Preston North End.

The 29-year-old has spent a remarkable ten years at the Deepdale club, having moved from his native Ireland in 2014, but is looking for greener pastures as his contract expires on June 1st.

Championship clubs, including Coventry City and Sheffield United, are reportedly considering a transfer.

Boro would be wise to join the contest, especially with Hayden Hackney’s departure probably probable this summer. Browne is an experienced player who could come straight into the side and bring quality to the midfield.

There is a possibility that Browne extends his decade-long stay at Preston further, though this seems unlikely given he has had a contract offer on the table for the majority of the season and is yet to commit.

Alan Browne arrival would give Middlesbrough promotion chances real boost

Browne has been extremely dedicated to Preston since signing as a 19-year-old, so it is reasonable that the 35-cap Ireland international would seek a fresh challenge.

Whoever signs the midfielder will benefit from having a clean-cut, goal-scoring midfielder who can play as a holding midfielder, box-to-box ‘8’, or attacking midfielder.

According to Transfermark, Browne has four goals and four assists in 41 Championship games this season. However, his best scoring season was in 2018/19, when he provided 12 goals and five assists in the second tier.

Ryan Lowe, Browne’s Preston manager, is keen for him to continue with the club and has shown his admiration for him on multiple occasions.

In November 2022, after Browne returned from injury, Lowe praised the midfielder’s performance in a 1-0 win over Swansea City, saying: “Brilliant yeah.” He deserves it; I just told him that he’s back.”

“Now you’ve seen, in the last two games, he’s been superb and that’s what I want from my big players, especially my captain, so fair play to him.”

“He’s got his head down, he’s worked at it, he’s been disappointed at not being in the team at times, but tonight he showed the Alan Browne of old and that’s what we want to continue to get out of him because when he’s performing like that, he’s unplayable.”

Beating the likes of Coventry and Sheffield United to Browne’s signature could prove difficult, but if Boro manage it then they will see their chances of promotion improve significantly.

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