Saturday 23 September 2017

Hiddink in Boro's sights after sacking of Karanka

Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Jason Burt

Middlesbrough are discussing whether to make a move for Guus Hiddink to become their new manager following the sacking of Aitor Karanka.

Hiddink is not the only candidate for the job but has been identified by Boro chairman Steve Gibson as the man best-suited to keep the club in the Premier League with just 11 matches to go.

The Dutchman held talks with Leicester City last month following the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri but a deal was not agreed.

After two impressive league wins Leicester decided to leave assistant manager Craig Shakespeare in charge until the end of the season when they will re-assess the situation. Boro could go down a similar route with Steve Agnew having been named as caretaker manager.

However, Hiddink, 70, is believed to be interested and the Dutchman does think he has one more job to do before he retires from coaching having taken the helm at Chelsea - again - last season following Jose Mourinho's departure.

Whether terms can be agreed remains to be seen, with former Boro captain Nigel Pearson also believed to have expressed an interest in his old club.

Boro sacked Karanka, having slipped into the bottom three and after Gibson completed a thorough assessment as to whether the Spaniard could turn around the team's fortunes.

Karanka has had a strained relationship with some of the players for some time and that has recently extended to the boardroom with 43-year-old venting his frustration at what he believed were failings in the transfer market.

Although his departure, after three years and four months in charge, is amicable the tension was clear.

Boro missed out on Jese, Robert Snodgrass and Bojan in the January window, instead signing Adlene Guedioura and spending £12m on Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede.

Karanka also fell out with a number of players - a trait that has been apparent throughout his tenure. Stewart Downing was the most recent, while Alvaro Negredo was also dropped and Bamford's commitment publicly questioned.

Karanka's dismissal means that all of the bottom six clubs in the Premier League, with the exception of bottom-placed Sunderland, who have stuck with David Moyes, have changed managers this season.

This week marked a year since Karanka walked out of Boro, having again fallen out with some senior players, but he returned to lead them to promotion. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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