Neil Warnock is trusting his instincts in looking to dip into the free agent market in the final fortnight of the transfer window, there are plenty of options for the wily 72-year-old.
Middlesbrough are in action on Wednesday evening with a win potentially seeing them break into the automatic promotion places, despite not having the parachute money of other competitors at the top end of the division.
Boro are efficient in the market with Uche Ikpeazu and Matt Crooks looking incredibly shrewd acquisitions from this summer alone.
With a lot of out of contract players’ careers hanging in the balance, Warnock is in the position to grant another opportunity to those desperate for one. Such as he did for Duncan Watmore and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing to differing levels of success last term.
Here, then, we identify three current free agents who could add to the Boro squad this season in their quest to make an assault on the Championship’s top six…
31-year-old left back Bennett has played under Warnock before at Cardiff City, sealing promotion to the Premier League in 2017/18, he boasts 262 appearances at second tier level and would provide valuable cover and experience for the backline.
Marc Bola is the only senior left back at the club with Hayden Coulson leaving for Ipswich Town on loan, therefore a one year deal for Bennett, who additionally has tried his hand in the top-flight 61 times, could be a very useful signing.
There is a degree of dependability in Bennett’s services, he is not sparkling, not elite in defence or attack but he is reliable and was fit and available to represent the Bluebirds 177 times in just five seasons.
Former Manchester City man and England international Jack Rodwell has only turned 30 this year and if there is one man to adjust the downward trajectory of his career, Neil Warnock would have to be up there. Rodwell is a free agent following his release from Sheffield United.
He has not played a great deal of football since Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League in 2017, however that would likely ensure a decrease in his wage demands and given it would be mainly for a backup role in the squad Warnock would have time to ensure his motivation before throwing him in.
A majestic deep lying midfielder in his days at Everton, Rodwell still has years ahead of him if he wants to resurrect his career. Boro could provide that opportunity.
In Frenchman Maxime Biamou there is a chance to bolster Boro’s attacking ranks, to which there is a lack of a deputy to Ikpeazu as first choice striker, with a man at the peak of his powers. The 30-year-old scored six and assisted three for Coventry City last term, a thoroughly intelligent forward without a prolific goalscoring record.
This could be a marquee signing, with the precocious talents of Marcus Tavernier, Marcus Browne and even Djed Spence running off of him, Biamou’s awareness, link up play and physicality would make him an excellent signing for Warnock’s men.
Should Ikpeazu suffer an injury, Boro’s promotion push could be derailed immediately, with the unfancied Chuba Akpom the immediate alternative. On a short term contract, Biamou’s signature would present a risk free purchase with a potentially large up side.