Championship debrief as Middlesbrough favourite finds new club while manager searches continue

Ben Gibson
-Credit: (Image: Greig Cowie/REX/Shutterstock)


Vincent Kompany's shock move from Burnley to Bayern Munich means Middlesbrough are about to lose assistant coach Aaron Danks, though it's fair to say the impact will be more largely felt at Turf Moor.

Since their relegation from the Premier League in 2022, Kompany had been remoulding Burnley and though they only managed one season back in the top flight, they would have been heavily tipped next season to be fierce contenders in the Championship again.

But with Kompany's switch to Bayern Munich, the Lancashire outfit are forced into a change that delays their preparations for the new season, with Craig Bellamy - Kompany's assistant at Burnley and understood to be a candidate to take the reins full-time - placed in interim charge.

READ MORE: Kieran Scott on Bayern Munich's Aaron Danks interest and what next for Middlesbrough

Steve Cooper appears to have ruled himself out of the running, while former Chelsea duo Frank Lampard and Scott Parker are the current leading names being linked with the role. Burnley are said to want a thorough process and don't want to rush appointing a successor.

Ben Gibson to join Stoke City

Former Boro academy graduate Ben Gibson appears to have quickly found himself a new club this summer. The 31-year-old was released by Norwich City as his contract at Carrow Road came to an end. But with Boro already having four senior centre-back options, a return to Teesside didn't ever seem likely.

Gibson has wasted no time in finding a new club, however, with the centre-back set to join Stoke City having played with their technical director Jon Walters at Burnley. Gibson is said to have agreed terms with the Potters and has been undergoing medical assessments before he can be announced as their second signing of the summer. The Potters will be hoping for huge improvements next term under boss Steven Schumacher.

Norwich and Hull get their men

Speaking of Norwich, they're one of two Championship clubs to announce new managers this week. The Canaries have appointed Johannes Hoff Thorup as their new head coach, poaching the 35-year-old Dane from FC Nordsjaelland.

Of his hopes, Thorup said: "I'm excited, I hope that fans are excited as well. I hope that we can create something together, it's so important that they are proud of the team. I have my ideas and I have my principles in the way that we are going to play, but I am also here to listen to some of the good stuff that has already been done."

Norwich will be hoping to at least equal last season's feat of reaching the play-offs, while Hull City are hoping to make the top six next season after sacking Liam Rosenior for failing to do so. After drawn-out negotiations, the Tigers have finally confirmed ex Bayern academy chief Tim Walter as their new boss.

Hull City Chairman Acun Ilıcalı added: “Tim was always our first choice. We had many strong applicants and wanted to be thorough in our recruitment process, but it quickly became clear that Tim was the outstanding candidate. Our discussions were detailed and productive in planning for this season and I am encouraged about how we can work together to the benefit of our club.

“I believe in Tim’s philosophy and in doing so, I am hopeful that over the forthcoming season he can continue our positive progress and upward trajectory."

Sunderland miss out on Will Still

Things are not going so smoothly on Wearside, however, as they continue to struggle in their search for Michael Beale's successor. They sacked the former Rangers boss in February after he succeeded Tony Mowbray at the Stadium of Light, but didn't last long as he failed to win the backing of fans.

Sunderland decided to go with coach Michael Dodds until the end of the season in order to conduct a thorough search for the new manager and yet, now without a boss for almost four months, they appear no closer to finding their new leader after their latest disappointment with Will Still.

The Belgian is said to have been a top target after leaving Reims this summer and was this week said to have been in talks to join the Black Cats. However, those talks are said to have broken down, with suggestions that he was concerned about investment in the team and also his coaching staff. He instead looks set to join Lens as Sunderland are forced back to the drawing board, with Paul Heckingbottom, Rosenior and Rene Maric names being touted.

Sheffield United takeover

Another side who will consider themselves as contenders for promotion next season are Sheffield United. They are currently in the process of being taken over by a US investment firm, with the deal now with the EFL for the 'fit and proper person' testing.

While the group are said to be confident of being passed and are already starting work on their rebuild at Bramall Lane, there will be delay in properly getting to work on the summer rebuild as the deal is ratified by the EFL. Currently led by former Boro boss Chris Wilder, the takeover leaves his future in doubt, with some reports that the new owners have already approached Steve Cooper about his availability.