Valdes capture ushers in new top-flight era for Middlesbrough
Not all that long ago, Victor Valdes was winning prestigious titles galore in goal for Barcelona and now the 34-year-old former Spain stopper will be turning out for Premier League new boys Middlesbrough, but should we be surprised?
Boro’s return to the big time after a seven-year absence will have felt a lot longer on Teesside, following as it did an 11-year stay in the top tier.
This golden period in the Reds’ history included the 2004 League Cup trophy, two other appearances in the competition’s showpiece and a brush with European glory when Steve McClaren guided them to the 2005/06 Europa League final.
It’s a little premature to start predicting European adventures again, but under Aitor Karanka Boro are at least seated at the top table again and Valdes’ capture shows the sign of the times at the Riverside.
Although it didn’t work out for the former Spanish international in a strangely short stay at Manchester United last season, it’s obvious Boro are getting a player of great quality and in goalkeeper age terms, nothing like a dinosaur .
Of signing Valdes, his new manager Karanka said: “You can’t imagine how delighted I am because it’s not usual to bring players like him to recently promoted teams.
“I’m really pleased because he is really committed. All the the conversations we’ve had he knows why he is here and he is coming to add to what we have.
“He knows how strong this group is. It’s a privilege for us to be able to bring a player like this to the club.”
Clearly, a policy of signing older, high-profile players should be approached with caution.
The fate of Queens Park Rangers, albeit in their second season after promotion back in 2012/13, serves as a footnote to the foibles of such an approach.
Traditionally though Boro are a club who’ve managed to find a healthy blend of homegrown players with more exotic talents from around the globe and Karanka has long-term chairman Steve Gibson on hand to give him the appropriate history lessons.
Valdes actually becomes Boro’s fifth signing of the summer to date, following Viktor Fischer, Bernardo Espinosa, Marten de Roon and defender Jordan McGhee.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.