Middlesbrough head coach Michael Carrick has admitted that summer signing Alex Gilbert could be sent out on loan before the January transfer window slams shut at the beginning of next month.
The young playmaker was brought up through the academy of West Bromwich Albion and later Brentford before earning his first-ever loan spell in professional football at Swindon Town where he made 12 appearances.
However, having spent the entirety of the 2022/23 campaign with Brentford B, the 22-year-old was signed by Middlesbrough for £1 million despite the Bees trying to tie him down to a new deal.
Nevertheless, since Gilbert moved to the Riverside Stadium, he has received very few minutes on the pitch. In total, the attacking midfielder has played five matches for Boro but has been on the field for merely 49 minutes in total, including just 31 in the Championship.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Middlesbrough’s FA Cup clash with Aston Villa, head coach Carrick has admitted that Gilbert could be sent out on loan this month for the remainder of the season [quotes via The Northern Echo]:
“Maybe. Listen, we have got good options and it’s what certain players need at certain stages.
“At the moment, Alex is a big part of the group, in and around it and looking to play a big part and as the window goes on, we’ll make a call on that.”
Gilbert’s potential spell away from the club has also coincided with Middlesbrough signing Aston Villa playmaker Finn Azaz for a fee in the region of £2.5 million after the Irishman’s successful eighteen-month loan stint with Plymouth Argyle.
It’s best for all parties if Gilbert gets a loan move away from the club until the end of the season. 49 minutes of action isn’t ideal for a young footballer, particularly since this is the most important stage of their development.
With Finn Azaz moving to the Riverside Stadium, Gilbert will likely receive less game-time than he already has, meaning it’s important for him to go somewhere else and get some minutes under his belt before returning in the summer, ready to stake his claim in the first-team.