Recently departed Blackpool defender Marc Bola says he decided to make the move to Middlesbrough as he feels they’re the right club to continue his development.
The left-back made the move to Teeside at the weekend, signing for the Championship side for an undisclosed fee.
It caps off a manic 12 months for Bola, who this time last year had been signed by Blackpool on a free transfer after being released by Arsenal.
He went on to make 43 appearances for the Seasiders last season and was subsequently named the club’s player of the year.
His impressive form attracted plenty of interest, Pool confirming they turned down “several offers” over the summer before offering him a new and improved contract.
However Bola made it clear he wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to play in the Championship.
He was left out of Pool’s squad for Saturday’s pre-season defeat to Blackburn Rovers and just 24 hours later finalised his move to Middlesbrough.
He even came off the bench to make his debut in their 1-1 draw with French side St Etiennes.
“I had a medical on Sunday and got told to come to the game,” the left-back revealed.
I loved it (first Riverside experience). Just walking in, everyone is so welcoming, it's a great set of lads as well so that's made it 10 times easier.”
Middlesbrough weren’t the only club to have shown interest in the former Blackpool man, who had also been tracked by Brentford and Luton Town.
When asked why he chose Middlesbrough, Bola said: “I just think the pathway for me, the development, I felt it was the right thing to do.
“I wanted to play more games. The manager Jonathan Woodgate said, 'listen if you work hard you're guaranteed to play'.
“I'm always hungry to learn and play, that's why I came here - he wanted me to be hungry.”
Bola was Middlesbrough’s second signing last week and followed fellow 21-year-old Marcus Browne in joining the club.
The winger, who played against Blackpool during his loan spell at Oxford United last season, moved from West Ham.
“I messaged Marcus and he said it's a great club,” Bola said.
“The philosophy and the way they think, everyone around the club is so welcoming, that made it such much easier for me.”