This article is part of Football League World’s ‘What does the future hold?’ series, this content strand is where we evaluate and subjectively debate a player’s future at their current club…
It’s set to be a summer of change at the Riverside Stadium.
A number of Middlesbrough stars are out of contract at the end of the season and are expected to move on, but the mass exodus may not end there.
One man who always looks likely to head for the exit door is Britt Assombalonga.
The striker arrived at the club for a fee in the region of £15million in the summer of 2017, and has been the main man in attack for the Teessiders since then.
15 goals in his first season was followed by 16 in his second – a tally which cemented his place as one of the Championship’s most potent attackers.
But for whatever reason things haven’t worked out quite as well this term.
Woodgate promised to give the 27-year-old all of the support that he’d need to fire the club to glory, but put simply, the striker just hasn’t delivered.
Middlesbrough have struggled for results this term and so that was always going to negative impact Assombalonga’s strike rate, but a tally of just six goals is far from what is expected from the club-record signing.
Can you name where these 15 Middlesbrough players started their career?
The Teessiders are at something of a crossroad in terms of their recruitment as they look to offload their higher earners and sign high potential, value for money addition with a sell-on potential.
Assombalonga does not fit into that category.
The 27-year-old is the highest paid player on Middlesbrough’s books – a salary which is more likened to that of a Premier League side than one struggling in the lower reaches of the Championship.
That salary packet will stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of the first team squad, and with just 12 months left on his deal, the Teessiders have a big decision to make.
While recouping their £15million fee for the striker is unlikely, the summer represents the last plausible opportunity to claw back a fee for the striker.
But whether they’re able to find a suitor willing to pay a suitable fee and match his sizeable wage demands remains to be seen.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a big summer both for the player and the club as they look to find a solution.