Zach Hemming transfer claim offers hint on Middlesbrough's summer goalkeeper plans

Zach Hemming
-Credit: (Image: Simon Moore/Focus Images Ltd)

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson appeared to kill hope of re-signing Middlesbrough loanee Zach Hemming this summer, suggesting the goalkeeper is set to be handed an opportunity at Boro next season.

Robinson had previously made clear that the Buddies wanted to resign the 24-year-old Boro academy graduate after a successful loan spell at the Paisley club. Hemming was first choice throughout the campaign as St Mirren finished fifth in the Scottish Premiership to qualify for next season's Europa Conference League.

But ahead of a summer in which 23-year-old hot prospect Sol Brynn will also return to Teesside with the aim of impressing Michael Carrick to try and earn their place in the Boro squad. Robinson has previously revealed they were in contact with Boro throughout the loan and would step up conversations about Hemming's future, making his claims about Hemming's prospects carry more weight.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough goalkeeper dilemma as Sol Brynn and Zach Hemming return

Robinson told the Daily Record: “We’re obviously looking at the goalkeeping position and we’re very close to doing something in the coming days.

“We’ve tried very hard to get Zach back but it won’t happen. He is a Middlesbrough player and will be going back to Middlesbrough. He’s got the chance to be the No 2 there and he’s developed massively since he’s been with us. That’s credit to Jamie, all the coaching staff and to Zach himself. He’s going back to a very good club. He’s also going back to a very good goalkeeping coach in Alan Fettis.

“They want to see him, they want to look at him and we can’t wait that long. When we have our first game, we have to make sure we are ready to go. These things happen. We thank the boy immensely. Zach has been tremendous for us, as have all the boys who are leaving. He goes with nothing but our best wishes to him and his family.”

The fact that Boro are going to give Hemming an opportunity this summer offers an interesting hint on what the summer holds for Boro and their goalkeepers. With Hemming and Brynn returning, they have five senior goalkeepers in their squad, providing Jamie Jones does end up staying. Out of contract this summer, he remains at Boro recuperating from an injury with a view to staying, with the veteran a smart option for third choice given his experience and value in the dressing room.

That then leaves Boro and Carrick with tough choices to make on their first choice and number two options for next season. Seny Dieng and Tom Glover held those roles this term but have both been linked with moves away ahead of the summer transfer window.

Brynn and Hemming have both enjoyed successful loan spells this term, with Brynn also impressing during his time at Leyton Orient. Both have ambitions to breakthrough at Boro - with Brynn's agent Ian Harte recently tipping him as a future Premier League goalkeeper who was ready to be Boro's first choice.

But assessing Boro's goalkeeper options and the dilemma he will face this summer, he admitted that he had to make the best decision for both the club and the individuals, with a particular focus on how game time, or a lack thereof, might impede the development of the younger duo.