Middlesbrough's squad after the retained list, possible incomings and likely departures

Middlesbrough players celebrate
Middlesbrough players celebrate -Credit:James Heaton/News Images

Middlesbrough announced their retained list late on Friday last week, with two senior departures confirmed alongside the end of four loan deals. There were also 12 academy players who left the club, including Joe Gibson and Jeremy Sivi who had previously made first-team debuts.

While Boro players are now enjoying well-earned summer breaks before the start of pre-season towards the end of next month/start of July, the planning behind the scenes is in overdrive now as Michael Carrick and co. plot Boro's next moves ahead of next season.

While they won't need as many signings this summer as last, with the head coach stressing the importance of continuity, they still want to add a little extra quality to their squad during the upcoming transfer window. We take a look at the Boro squad as it stands and the possible ins and outs over the next few months.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough's retained list confirmed and where the club stand on big transfer decisions


Senior options: Seny Dieng, Tom Glover, Jamie Jones, Sol Brynn, Zach Hemming

Youth prospects: Shea Connor, Nathan Fisher

Released: Liam Roberts

Possible incomings and exits: You would expect at least two goalkeepers will depart Boro this summer, though the big question will be which two. Jamie Jones is out of contract and might yet depart, but is staying around for now to recuperate from a shoulder injury with a view to staying.

The veteran keeper didn't make a single appearance last term, but was brought in to be an important third-choice and also played a huge role behind the scenes. That move came after Liam Roberts decided he wanted to leave to play games, and after a successful loan spell at Barnsley, he now departs Boro at the end of his contract.

Boro have talented prospects Sol Brynn and Zach Hemming returning from successful loan spells, determined to try and break in next season. At 23 and 24 respectively, it's getting closer and closer to the time where loans might not be satisfactory to them much longer.

Seny Dieng and Tom Glover proved solid options for Boro last season, with Dieng establishing himself as first choice and putting himself in the running for the Player of the Year award. But both have been linked with moves away, while St Mirren have made clear they'd love Hemming back if he's available.


Senior options: Tommy Smith, Anfernee Dijksteel, Lukas Engel, Alex Bangura, Hayden Coulson

Youth prospects: George Gitau, Nathan Simpson, Bryant Bilongo

Released: Luke Ayling (end of loan), Luke Thomas (end of loan)

Possible incomings and exits: The club are in negotiations to have Luke Ayling return to the club this summer on a permanent deal, with his Leeds United contract expiring this summer. The Whites' involvement in the play-offs means their retained list deadline has been extended, thus delaying when Ayling officially becomes available, but there aren't expected to be any complications after the right-back admitted things were close after the final game.

Luke Thomas departs at the end of his underwhelming loan, while Hayden Coulson returns, albeit almost certainly briefly, with a summer exit likely for him after impressing on loan at Blackpool. Having almost released him on a free last summer, it might be a small fee, but Boro are likely to make something on the academy prospect this summer.

With 12 months remaining on his contract and game time so limited, Dijksteel is also likely to leave. The question then is whether Boro look to bring in a younger prospect if budget allows, with right-backs Ayling and Tommy Smith both 32 and injuries a problem this term. George Gitau might get a chance in pre-season first, after ending the season in fine form.

At left-back, Alex Bangura suffered issues with injuries throughout the season while Lukas Engel has a lot of improving still to do if he is to establish himself as a leading Championship left-back. Boro could sell one and add ready-made quality, but it's more likely they show faith in the duo to improve from last season's experiences.


Senior options: Rav van den Berg, Dael Fry, Darragh Lenihan, Matt Clarke

Youth prospects: Jack Hannah, James Wilson, George McCormick

Released: Paddy McNair

Possible incomings and exits: Paddy McNair was the big name to be released this summer following six years at the club. He'd fallen down the pecking order since Carrick's arrival at the club and, on a considerable wage for someone who could be realistically considered fifth-choice now, it made sense for all parties that the Northern Irishman was allowed to leave and explore other options.

It's known that Boro were scouting centre-backs quite closely over the course of last season with this summer in mind, though Matt Clarke's end-of-season form may have changed the thinking or priority. Even with McNair's departure, Boro still have four senior centre-backs, though insurances may have to be in place for Darragh Lenihan, who will return this summer after over eight months out.

While Rav van den Berg is likely to attract plenty of interest this summer, the club are keen to keep him, while the Dutchman himself has claimed he has no reason to leave right now, with playing regular football still his priority. If a huge offer were to come in, however, Boro might have to seriously consider it.

Failing that, the interesting thing this summer will be whether Boro decide to go with what they've got - with seemingly bigger priorities elsewhere in the team - or if they spotted someone they really liked last season and therefore decide to try and move one of their centre-backs on in order to free up space for a new signing. Alternatively, with last term's injuries in mind, they could look for a younger prospect to come in as a developing fifth choice option, if budget allows.

Centre midfielders

Senior options: Hayden Hackney, Jonny Howson, Dan Barlaser

Youth prospects: Law McCabe, AJ Bridge, Fin Cartwright, Luke Woolston, Yacou Traore, Jack Stott, Cain Sykes

Released: Lewis O'Brien (end of loan)

Possible incomings and exits: Lewis O'Brien leaves the club after his loan from Nottingham Forest with Boro deciding against pursuing a permanent deal for the 25-year-old, who will almost certainly leave the City Ground this summer, now Forest have sealed Premier League survival.

The reason is that Boro have decided to look for a different kind of midfielder to O'Brien. Though not yet confirmed, there's a feeling that likely means a more defensive-minded option, likely similar in mould to veteran Jonny Howson, whose form last season earned him another 12-month contract, but who will, at some point, have to be gradually fazed out as he reaches the latter stages of his career.

There will be huge interest in Hayden Hackney this summer but, particularly after injury troubles this season, Boro will hope they can put interested parties off or convince the Redcar academy graduate to stay for another 12 months at least, given his significance to Carrick's side.

Dan Barlaser continues to struggle to cement his place as a regular starter but did have a lot more better days this season as a result of the injury crisis. With Carrick's desire for continuation in mind, it feels more likely he stays this summer as Hackney's deputy.

Boro do have a lot of young talent in this position too, with Fin Cartwright, AJ Bridge, Luke Woolston, Yacou Traore, Cain Sykes and Jack Stott all previously enjoying periods training with the first team. Law McCabe, meanwhile, was an almost ever-present last term in first-team training and handled his first start for the club against Watford on the final day with a level of maturity and belonging, strengthening his case to be in and around things even more next term.


Senior options: Marcus Forss, Isaiah Jones, Finn Azaz, Alex Gilbert, Riley McGree, Sammy Silvera

Youth prospects: Pharrell Willis, Charlie Lennon

Released: Sam Greenwood (end of loan)

Possible incomings and exits: With Boro deciding against the option to purchase Sam Greenwood this summer, they will be looking elsewhere for a forward. Across three positions in the starting line-up, Boro are left with six options plus two exciting youth prospects.

However, while Alex Gilbert ended the season with two solid performances to suggest he might be able to play a bigger role next term, Sammy Silvera remains a raw talent that needs a little more nurturing and it is therefore appreciated that one more forward is needed - likely to be a player like Riley McGree and Finn Azaz who is considered able to play both roaming left forward and attacking midfield.

McGree, however, has just 12 months remaining on his current deal and, having already sealed a new contract for Isaiah Jones before the season ended, club officials will be hoping to sort similar with the Aussie star early this summer. Without a new deal, Boro would potentially have to consider a summer sale, not wanting to risk the 25-year-old's contract running down. Positive talks were held early in the new year.


Senior options: Emmanuel Latte Lath, Josh Coburn, Matthew Hoppe

Youth prospects: Sonny Finch, Ajay Matthews, Dan Nkrumah

Released: N/A

Possible incomings and exits: Boro are looking to add a striker this summer, but hope to keep hold of Emmanuel Latte Lath after his stunning end to the season. There's also belief that, after a frustrating campaign with injuries, Josh Coburn will be much-improved next term, suggesting, as things stand, there are no plans to loan him out next season.

One player who will surely exit will be Matthew Hoppe who, having returned from a loan spell in the MLS back in November, failed to make a single appearance this season. Youth prospect Ajay Matthews is being watched by many top clubs and has just 12 months remaining on his current Boro deal, though it will be hoped his first-team debut can convince him to remain at the Riverside.

Tottenham under-21 star Will Lankshear has been linked with a loan move to Boro this summer. He has been scouted by the club and it is an option they have available to them. But with bigger immediate priorities in the squad, and with a desire to be patient to see how the striker market looks this summer, they won't be rushed into any decision yet.