Multiple reports indicate that Spaniard Aitor Karanka and Garry Monk could be set to almost switch management positions this off-season.
Karanka was let go in March after Middlesbrough had pretty much sealed its fate as the team limped towards relegation. Boro had looked to be somewhat safe in December, but a poor run of results combined with Crystal Palace and Swansea City both having improved results put too much pressure on them and, along with fellow Northeast club Sunderland, the Teeside club went down. The team defended well, but was unable to score enough goals to get results, so the team was not able to translate its defensive prowess into enough points to stay above the drop.
Karanka had been manager at the Riverside Stadium since November of 2013, leading the club back to the Premier League in the 2015-16 season after they had spent seven years outside the top flight. Boro had lost the playoff final the year before at Wembley against Norwich City, so he’s had an extremely successful run in the Championship.
While pretty much unknown in England before being appointed manager at Boro, Karanka spent his playing career in Spain with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao and also spent a single season in MLS with the Colorado Rapids in 2006. He started his coaching career with the Spanish U16s before being named as an assistant manager at Real Madrid in 2010 after Jose Mourinho took the helm at the Spanish giants.
A number of Spaniards are either employed to looked to be employed by new Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani, with Ivan Bravo hired and the team is also rumored to be looking to hire former Boro scout Victor Orta as technical director at Elland Road as well, so this rumor is not surprising. Ivan Bravo also worked at Real Madrid, and Orta has worked with Karanka at the Riverside Stadium, and while his time at Boro ended up poorly, he has an excellent record in the Championship.
Garry Monk is also apparently held in high regard at the Riverside Stadium, and once Monk resigned, rumors started to float that he was headed Teeside to take up the hot seat at fellow Championship side Middlesbrough. It would be strange, to say the least, but it could absolutely happen. It will be interesting to see the two teams play each other next season if this manager switch is to happen. The reception that Monk gets at Elland Road might not be as positive as it would be if Monk had headed to the Premier League instead of a promotion rival.