Championship debrief with another manager casualty as Middlesbrough's rivals begin squad rebuild

Norwich City manager David Wagner
Norwich City manager David Wagner -Credit:Matt West/REX/Shutterstock

Middlesbrough are closer to knowing the full 24-team field they will be competing in next season, with Premier League relegation all but confirmed and the League One play-off final taking place between Bolton and Oxford on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Championship play-offs are down to the final two - in what is the best possible outcome for Boro.

After two legs over the past week, Leeds United and Southampton beat Norwich City and West Brom respectively to book their place at Wembley for what is often described as the richest prize in football. From Boro's perspective, they now know that, along with Leicester City, they will also be losing another rival club who would otherwise be in receipt of parachute payments next season if not promoted.

While Leeds and Southampton will now compete for that promotion ticket to join the Foxes and Ipswich Town in next season's Premier League, Norwich and West Brom find themselves in similar positions to Boro last term - with a lot of rebuilding ahead having failed to go up.

READ MORE: Seven big summer transfer decisions that could shape Middlesbrough's success next season

Another managerial casualty

Joining Hull City, Plymouth Argyle and Sunderland in looking for a new manager this summer, Norwich announced that they had parted company with David Wagner after their play-off defeat to Leeds. The 52-year-old had been in charge since January 2023.

Sporting director Ben Knapper said: “David has operated with class and dignity throughout his period as Norwich City head coach, but we now feel that the time is right for us to move in a different direction. We remain committed to progressing our football club, in both the short and long-term, working through a diligent and thorough strategy.

“The appointment of a new head coach is an important one. We will now work and continue our due diligence with the view of making an appointment in the near future.”

Where the Canaries turn next remains to be seen but they face an interesting summer, with this their last season of parachute payments. As well as needing a new manager, they also have five players out of contract - including Ben Gibson - and are also expected to receive offers for star players such as Josh Sargent, Gabi Sara, and Jon Rowe.

West Brom, meanwhile, are hoping they can keep Carlos Corberan at the club, with his social media post after the defeat to Southampton hinting that he is ready to stay and build on this season's success. They too could have a big squad overhaul this summer with Kyle Bartley, Cedric Kipre, Matt Phillips, Adam Reach, Martin Kelly, Nathaniel Chalobah, Erik Pieters and ex-Boro man Alex Mowatt are all out of contract, while loanees Pipa, Callum Marshall, Mikey Johnston and Andreas Weimann will also leave the club.

Sheffield United rebuild begins

Another rival for Championship promotion next season is likely to be Sheffield United - led by former Boro boss Chris Wilder. They still have one Premier League game to play this weekend but their relegation was confirmed a fortnight ago - as such allowing the planning to begin early.

Their squad rebuild started this week, with confirmation that five club stalwarts will be leaving this summer at the end of their contracts as Wilder looks to freshen up his squad for next season's promotion charge. Chris Basham, George Baldock, Oliver Norwood, Wes Foderingham and Max Lowe were the players announced to be leaving, with the club promising further decisions on other players in due course.

While those five will leave, Wilder has named three players he hopes the Blades can keep and build their team around next season, including former Boro foe Gus Hamer. But with the club suffering relegation to the Championship, Wilder admitted they were vulnerable to losing them if big offers were received this summer.

Wilder said: “There are certain players who maybe won’t want to be a part of that journey as well, so we understand that and have to be smart and make sure we get value for money on those players who are going out. There are players we want to keep, and Gus is one of them. And Jayden [Bogle] is one of those, and [Ollie] Arblaster as well.

“We are in a little bit of a vulnerable position because of the finances involved in the Premier League, so I can’t sit here and categorically say they’re going to be here for the next five years. I just don’t think that happens, and that’s the case for the majority of Premier League clubs as well, never mind a team that’s had a disappointing season and is going to find itself in the Championship next season.

“But certain players we have a plan for and we want to surround ourselves with and we see taking us forward. And who we don’t see taking us forward. It’s not personal decisions it’s how it is and how we’re trying to structure the club to make an immediate comeback.

"Off the back of that there will be rumours and understandably so but Gus has been a success, he brings an excitement to the team and an ability at the top of the pitch and I know how much the fans think of him, he’s a crowd favourite - as Jayden is and Arblaster are - because of their positive, consistent performances all season.”

Che Adams set to leave Southampton

Che Adams will be looking to fire Southampton back to the Premier League at Wembley next weekend, but according to one report, the striker will leave St Mary's regardless this summer.

Adams is out of contract this summer and, according to TeamTalk, he has turned down their offer of a new deal and will leave regardless of what division they find themselves in next season. Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United are said to be interested after he got 17 goals and six assists this season.

Tanganga to join Millwall but they could lose key man

Millwall appear to be moving to secure an early deal for a successful loan player, similar to Boro with Luke Ayling. Tottenham defender Japhet Tanganga enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Den in the second half of last season and looks set to make that stay a permanent one.

Fabrizio Romano reports that the two London clubs have agreed a fee and though personal terms between Millwall and the 25-year-old are not yet agreed, the move is expected to go through without much complication.

However, the Lions' squad could be weakened this summer by the loss of star man Zian Flemming - who has proven a bit of a thorn in Boro's side in recent years. The 25-year-old Dutch attacking midfielder is said to be attracting interest from Ipswich and clubs in Spain.

South London Press report that the player's agent is determined to find him a new club this summer, after Millwall turned down what would have been a club-record fee from Burnley last summer. He has a year left on his contract but there is a 12-month extension clause too.