Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Woodgate May Have to Sell First before He Buys

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Woodgate May Have to Sell First before He Buys

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor's views

BORO may be forced to operate a "sell now and buy later" policy this summer.

We're already seeing players such as Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Paddy McNair linked with interest with other clubs.

Boro are under no pressure to panic sell, but I suspect they will keep saying "no" unless the prices reach an attractive level.

Once that happens, they must make the decision whether to allow three experienced members of the squad, and possibly more, move on.

The smart money says that Assombalonga will be sold, mainly because Boro will eventually receive an offer which they can't refuse.

I would never sell a goalscorer, particularly to a rival club, but then I am not in charge of the club's purse-strings.

In a perfect world I would love to see Braithwaite stay, because he's a class act.

But it's not a perfect world, and Martin's body language over the last 18 months has not been one which you would expect from a loyal club player.

Boro have agreed to loan him out in the past only because they have never managed to realise an offer which reflects his market value.

Maybe the time has come to allow Braithwaite to pack his bags for the final time, and accept the best of any offers.

I feel a tad sorry for McNair because he is apparently a halfdecent player, but just couldn't push himself into Tony Pulis's starting line-up.

Now we hear Jonathan Woodgate saying McNair will get his chance next season and that he sees him primarily as a midfield player.

That's good news for McNair, especially as he believes he is at his best in midfield.

The bottom line, of course, is that every player will be given a chance to impress by the new head coach.

It is up to McNair to be so influential on the training pitch that Woodgate can't possibly omit him from the league side. …

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