Middlesbrough have fought losing battles to keep hold of several key stars over the past six months ever since Michael Carrick’s side have been in the hat fighting for promotion.
During the January transfer window, Boro completed the sale of Morgan Rogers to Aston Villa for an initial fee of £8 million which could eventually rise to £15 million. The young playmaker moved to the Riverside Stadium last summer and recorded 16 goal contributions in 33 matches in all competitions under Carrick before joining the Champions League chasers.
However, Rogers is not the only key player that the Teesside club have lost since the Manchester United legend took over at the helm. Last season’s top scorer Chuba Akpom joined Dutch giants Ajax for a whopping £12 million despite interest from the Premier League and Ligue 1.
Nevertheless, Middlesbrough face yet another uphill battle to keep hold of an important player. According to The Northern Echo, MLS side Real Salt Lake have registered an interest in signing midfielder Matt Crooks before the transfer window closes in April.
While the winter market slammed shut for teams in England a week ago, the MLS window has only just opened and does not close until April 23rd, meaning the Claret and Cobalt could still poach the 30-year-old over the coming months.
On this day in 2021… 🗓️
👀 No look pass from Matt Crooks
💫 A beautiful lob by Duncan Watmore
— Second Tier podcast (@secondtierpod) November 27, 2022
Crooks signed a one-year contract extension with Boro in the summer, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2024/25 campaign. As a result, Real Salt Lake will have to offer a fee for Crooks, with his market value set at £1.3 million, as per Transfermarkt.
The former Rotherham United man has been a mainstay in Carrick’s side this season, bagging five goals and registering six assists in 31 appearances in all competitions.
This would be a huge loss for Middlesbrough, particularly since the transfer window is now closed and Carrick won’t be able to sign a replacement for Crooks until the summer. However, the silver lining is that he is still under contract and Real Salt Lake will need to pay for his services, whatever that price may be.
For Crooks, it could be a really good move for his career and wouldn’t be surprising if the midfielder was keen to accept an offer from the American club. He is now on the wrong side of 30 and will certainly be thinking about his future beyond his last 18 months with Boro.