Championship side Middlesbrough are set to sign Brighton and Hove Albion forward Aaron Connolly on a loan deal until the end of the season, according to the Daily Mail.
The 21-year-old has already made an impressive eight appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team despite only playing four times for Graham Potter’s men in the Premier League so far this season.
Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard and Danny Welback are all keeping the young forward out of the picture at the Amex Stadium as things currently stand, with no guarantee of more regular first-team football on the south coast during the second half of the campaign.
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With Covid cases continuing to rise and disrupt the Premier League schedule, it was unclear as to whether the Irishman was going to be allowed to go out on a temporary spell, but officials at Brighton have seemingly given this move the green light and Boro are set to make him the first addition of the Chris Wilder era.
The Teesside outfit have reportedly been tracking new forwards for a while, with Brentford’s Marcus Forss and Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun both linked with a move to the Riverside Stadium in recent months.
With Josh Coburn receiving a limited about of game time and summer signing Uche Ikpeazu said to have been made available for a move away ahead of next month, it remains to be seen whether the second-tier side make Connolly their only forward signing of January.
As per the Daily Mail, talks are progressing on this potential loan move with both clubs seeking to secure an agreement by the weekend.
Although the Irishman does have five goals to his name during his time in the Premier League so far, his goalscoring record at a senior level isn’t the greatest, and you could make similarities between him and Adam Idah in that respect.
Scoring 11 goals in 15 Premier League 2 displays during the 2018/19 campaign, it could be argued that he should have had more chances to go out on loan to prove himself at a senior level, something he was barely able to do at Luton Town as he made just two appearances for the Hatters during the same campaign.
Since then, he has played a semi-regular part in the first team but at this stage, he needs to be playing a lot more and this is something Boro manager Wilder may be able to provide him with as he prepares to make the move up north.
It previously looked as though Duncan Watmore and Andraz Sporar were going to remain as two of the first names in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future, but the former’s exclusion in favour of Onel Hernandez just goes to show there are places up for grabs.
That should be a real source of encouragement for the 21-year-old who will be hungry to prove himself at a senior level. And that can only be a good thing for the second-tier side in their quest for promotion.