This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Middlesbrough have secured the services of Wycombe Wanderers striker Uche Ikpeazu, as Neil Warnock’s men try to mount a play-off charge once again.
The 26-year-old scored six times in a season that ultimately ended in relegation for The Chairboys, and his overall influence in matches was there for all to see.
For Ikpeazu, he has been given another opportunity in the Championship and he will be chomping at the bit to get going and prove his £1 million price tag.
Warnock, who admitted to liking the 26-year-old back when he was playing for Hearts, believes that fans will really get behind their new frontman.
What qualities does Uche Ikpeazu bring to Middlesbrough though? We asked the FLW team for their thoughts.
He’s a perfect Neil Warnock player.
He’s strong, powerful and can be a real battering ram of a striker, something that Warnock will undoubtedly welcome as he looks to solidify his Boro side.
It’s not just his physical qualities that make Ikpeazu stand out, he’s an intelligent striker and showcased some really positive movement and runs for Wycombe in the latter end of last season.
Notably, he really found his goalscoring boots whilst at Wycombe last term, he became the Chairboys’ focal point and his strong hold-up play enabled other players around him to join attacks.
Ikpeazu likes to dribble with the ball and showed effectiveness in that area, but there are still question marks about some of his decision-making when it matters – there are raw tendencies that Warnock will want to iron out.
But overall, his standout qualities are his physical prowess and ability to utilise his strength and power to manipulate opposition defenders to forge goalscoring opportunities, he’ll be a positive addition at Riverside.
I think Ikpeazu will obviously bring a great degree of physicality to the Boro frontline because of his size and in addition to this he will give them a different route up the pitch when in possession.
He can hold the ball up and bring others into play via the use of short passes and knockdowns, so for me he will improve their link up play in the final third.
Furthermore he is also a threat from set pieces, which is something that Neil Warnock likes to see from his players.
He will be a great replacement for Chuba Akpom if the former Arsenal man departs and I can certainly see him being a regular starter at the Riverside Stadium.
His presence in the side will certainly make up for the strikers that they have lost this summer.
With Middlesbrough having just one striker on the books before today in Chuba Akpom, who is a nippy forward without being too prolific, Neil Warnock definitely needed a powerful addition up top who can bring others into play.
And he’s found one of the more effective strikers to do just that last season in Ikpeazu, who stood out a number of times for Wycombe in more than a goalscoring sense.
Ikpeazu only scored six times last season for the Chairboys, but that was in a team that wasn’t very free-scoring at all, so put him with more technically-gifted players – like Marcus Tavernier for example – and the 26-year-old could thrive even more.
Bearing in mind that was Ikpeazu’s first season in Championship football as well, he could improve even further under Warnock’s tuition and depending on what other strikers come through the door at the Riverside, he could provide the perfect foil to a smaller, quicker forward that he could play alongside.