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…
Britt Assombalonga faces an uncertain future at the Riverside Stadium.
After joining the club in 2017 the striker penned a four-year deal with Middlesbrough that is due to expire next summer in 2021.
So far there’s been no suggestion that a contract extension is on the cards, meaning that the 28-year-old’s long-term future is far from confirmed.
As the club’s captain Neil Warnock will be reluctant to lose his star man next month, but with the January transfer window the last chance for Middlesbrough to cash in, any offer could be hugely tempting.
So could Assombalonga move on when the market opens?
The team at FLW have their say…
Yes, I think he could be on the move in January but only if Boro are able to find a replacement.
Assombalonga’s not been at his best this season and with his contract set to expire in the summer, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the North East club look to cash in should an offer come in.
At 28, the striker still holds a fair bit of a value and may fancy a move having seen things stall a little for him at the Riverside.
He hasn’t looked quite right for a little while and though he has been a fantastic servant to the club, it wouldn’t be a massive shock to see him leave if someone else comes in.
Warnock’s forward options are relatively limited as it is, so it would be a surprise to see them let him go if there isn’t a replacement at the club.
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No, that would be a poor decision from Boro.
Normally, it would make sense financially to cash in on a player who you may not keep when their contract is expiring, but not when you’re trying to go up.
Warnock’s side are capable of winning promotion, and his squad already isn’t big enough. So, letting Assombalonga go shouldn’t be considered at all. Even though the striker hasn’t been amazing, he has been a regular, so needs to stay.
If he scores the goal that takes Boro back to the Premier League, it will be worth missing out on what would be a small fee in January.
It feels like there are a lot of variables to consider here.
‘Boro are far from stacked with options upfront, so you can’t imagine them really wanting to lose another striker, although with his contract expiring in the summer, they may be tempted to let him go for a fee in January rather than lose him for nothing in the summer, if there is no sign of a new deal being signed.
Should that happen, then given the goalscoring returns Assombalonga has previously produced at this level, and the number of teams there are struggling for attacking firepower in the Championship at the minute, I could see interest emerging in the Middlesbrough man.
But even if that proves to be the case, you feel Middlesbrough are going to want a decent fee for the striker, which could be difficult for clubs to stump up in the current financial climate, meaning while such a move is far from impossible, it could take a fair amount of compromise from several parties to make it happen.