Middlesbrough continue their ambitious sweep of Spain, as they look to double swoop on Valencia. Although, Antonio Barragan is a rather curious target.
I’m getting the theme of Middlesbrough’s summer transfer window. Locate a bunch of people who were never given enough time in the Premier League and give them another shot. Also, it helps if they’re Spanish.
Boro are looking hard at Valencia, as a move for Alvaro Negredo looks to be on the cards, as well as a move for Antonio Barragan. I have spoken quite fondly of the prospect of bringing Negredo back to England, as his relationship with Middlesbrough can be mutually effective.
However, it’s the Barragan pursuit that I’m hung up on. Transfer mogul Guillem Balague says that Middlesbrough are in on the guy, but when you look at where he’d fit into the squad, I don’t see it.
Barragan is a right-sided defender. However, he isn’t your Hector-Bellerin-type that bombards up the side and delivers workable balls into the box. He’s just a straight defender. He doesn’t necessarily win many duels or stomp out passes or even win aerial duels. He just does his job.
On the other side of things, Boro already have Nsue at right back, who is one of their more exciting players. At just 26 years of age, Nsue is that Bellerin-like defender. He scored three goals, added two assists and delivered a chance a game.
He is definitely someone that can cause problems in the Premier League.
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That’s why I find the Barragan pursuit so curious. If he had better defensive ability than Nsue, then I’d see him as a little reinforcement. But he doesn’t. Nsue is his equal in that category as well. If he had better aerial ability or better size I’d understand too. It’s a bit of an added presence. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t even stand much bigger than Nsue.
The only explanation I see is that Barragan would be added depth for Middlesbrough, but I couldn’t imagine a guy who gets fairly regular playing time at Valencia wanting to be a backup for a newly-promoted EPL side. It doesn’t really make sense.
Either that or Boro are going to convert him into a center back, but it’s a bit late for him to be doing that. Plus, you don’t want to make a position switch just as you’re coming into the toughest league in the world.
So it must be depth then. If they can convince Barragan to take a squad rotation role, then more power to them.