Middlesbrough complete Espinosa signing

Colombian defender will officially join Boro when his deal with Sporting Gijon runs out on July 1, becoming Boro's second signing after Viktor Fischer moved to Teesside last month

Middlesbrough complete Espinosa signing
Middlesbrough sign Bernardo Espinosa from Sporting Gijon | Photo: futbolred.com

Middlesbrough have, today, strengthened their side further after completing a deal to sign Bernardo Espinosa when his contract runs out with Spanish side Sporting Gijon.

The former Sevilla centre-back has signed a 3-year deal with Middlesbrough and is looking to break into a defence which only conceded 31 goals in 46 Sky Bet Championship games last season.

Bolstering the back line

Even though Middlesbrough had the best defence in the Sky Bet Football League in the 2015/16 season, Aitor Karanka will be looking to add to his numbers for the upcoming Premier League season.

Apart from Boro's main four defenders, those who set a record for consecutive clean sheets last year (George Friend, Ben Gibson, Daniel Ayala and Emilo Nsue) Middlesbrough do not have a vast amount of defenders in their squad.

Chelsea ‚Äčloanee Tomas Kalas who played infrequently last season returned to his parent club, as did Richie de Laet who returned to Premier League champions Leicester City after spending the second half on the season on loan at the Riverside Stadium. Jonathan Woodgate was not offered a new contract to stay on Teesside.

Bernardo Espinosa in action for Sporting Gijon | Photo: elheraldo.co
Bernardo Espinosa in action for Sporting Gijon | Photo: elheraldo.co

This leaves Karanka with Dael Fry - a promising 18-year-old but with very little experience - along with James Husband - who spent last season out on loan to Fulham and Huddersfield - and Alex Baptiste - the former Bolton defender who broke his leg in the first warm up game before last campaign and was subsequently loaned to Sheffield United - as cover should one of the main four defenders get injured or suspended.

Can we expect to see more defensive recruitment?

Boro have been linked with Aissa Mandi, the Algerian defender who plays for Stade Reims in France, and talks are believed to be ongoing between Middlesbrough and Stade Reims for their captain.

Apart from this, however, there does not seem to be any rush to sign a number of defenders and upset the back line which brought such success last year.

Karanka will, however, be wanting to add to the attacking talent of his team, with local paper the Gazette claiming that the deal for Middlesbrough to sign Gaston Ramirez is not yet dead.

Now Espinosa has signed for Boro, surely now all attention will turn to bringing attacking quality to the North East before the season kicks off against Stoke City at the Riverside Stadium on August 18.