Middlesbrough first-teamers Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson look set to leave Teesside this summer, as Neil Warnock confirmed that he expects that all out of contract players will depart.
Boro don’t have many contract issues to deal with, but there are some significant departures that will occur should Warnock’s words be true.
The Boro boss has already confirmed that captain Britt Assombalonga has probably played his last game for the club, and he’s not being offered a new contract which means the club will make a £15 million loss on him following his club-record move in 2017.
No decisions have been made yet on if the club are going to pursue permanent contracts for loan trio Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and Marcus Bettinelli, but it does look like Fletcher and Johnson will be heading through the exit door.
Fletcher joined Boro around the same time as Assombalonga did, with the club paying West Ham £6.5 million for his services.
The only season Fletcher has made an impact at Boro was the 2019/20 campaign, where he netted 11 times in 43 appearances, but for the most part he’s struggled for form and fitness.
Johnson meanwhile was out of favour for his first two seasons at the Riverside, but was given a chance by Jonathan Woodgate last season and hasn’t looked back – he’s proven to be very versatile down the left flank but he looks set to depart in the next few months.
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“I’ll look at the six games, and then either I’ll make decisions or the players will tell me anyway and we’ll move on,” said Warnock of those players with contracts expiring in June, per the Northern Echo.
“Obviously, I’m always looking at players that we can bring in, expecting players that are out of contract to leave. That’s what I expect. If it changes and things are different, then so be it.
“We’ve already been putting plans in place and looking for players who could replace the players who will leave.
“Striker wise, we’ve probably been looking for 12 months – and we’re still no nearer getting one.”
Fletcher and Johnson probably aren’t players that are going to propel Boro to the next level, but they’re still good options in the squad to have.
That’s why they’ll probably be a big loss to the club this summer, but they should have no trouble being picked up by another Championship team.
It looks like Boro are going to have a bit of a rebuild going forward with that duo and Assombalonga leaving – it’s exciting times for the fanbase who will see a real change up top for the first time in a long while.