Middlesbrough are set to make one of their biggest ever transfer deals over the next couple of days, with midfielder Marten de Roon about to sign for the club from Atalanta.
The 25-year-old is expected to complete a deal for around £12m, which would make him Boro’s second most expensive signing behind Afonso Alves in 2008.
However, there’s plenty to suggest that the defensive midfielder can become a much bigger success than Alves at the Riverside, with De Roon one of Europe’s brightest up-and-coming talents over the last couple of seasons.
Italian heavyweights Napoli and AC Milan have also been linked with the former Heerenveen player, but it’s believed De Roon is keen to get a taste of Premier League football.
An impressive work-rate and knack for high-intensity football saw him sounded out as one of Aitor Karanka’s main summer targets, and a deal is reportedly all but completed.
De Roon began his career with Sparta Rotterdam, spending two years with the club before joining Heerenveen in 2012.
He was rarely out of the squad during three years at the Abe Lenstra Stadium, before getting his first feel for football outside of his homeland last summer with Atalanta.
De Roon quickly became an integral part of Edoardo Reja’s plans, missing just two games during the campaign.
Middlesbrough are 5/4 for the drop next term, but if they can bring in more players of De Roon’s potential, those odds will only get longer.
The Teesside club will end their seven-year Premier League absence at home to Stoke City on the opening weekend, and are 7/5 to kick-off their return victoriously.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.