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 are in talks to sign 31-year-old winger Junior Hoilett, with Neil Warnock pondering over a potential deal for his former player, as reported by TEAMtalk.
The 31-year-old, who saw his first-team opportunities diminish as last season progressed, departed Cardiff after five years with the club in May.
The vastly experienced wide-man has spent the majority of his career in the top two divisions of English football, exceeding 200 Championship appearances and amassing 160 in the Premier League.
Hoilett has also been an integral performer for his native Canada since 2015, playing 34 games for his national side and scoring 12 times.
During the first half of the 2020/21 season, Hoilett made 12 starts for Cardiff, but he only saw 108 minutes of Championship action in 2021.
Would Middlesbrough benefit by bringing in Hoilett? We asked the team at FLW to share their thoughts…
Given Neil Warnock’s connection with Junior Hoilett from their time together at Cardiff City, it was never going to be a shock to see Boro emerge as a potential suitor for him when he was released by the Bluebirds this summer. In many ways, it seems like a very good potential move for all concerned really and there is no doubt he would be a quality player to add to their squad.
Middlesbrough clearly need to invest in some wingers during the summer window and they do not come much more experienced than Hoilett at Championship level.
The 31-year-old showed during the 2017/18 campaign that he can have a major impact for a side chasing promotion under Warnock with him scoring nine times and providing 11 assists that campaign.
He still has the ability to drive forwards and commit players on the ball and he is also adept at picking out the right pass in the final third. Warnock already knows how to get that quality out of him on a consistent basis and therefore it is a no-brainer really to bring him in on a free transfer.
Hoilett is a player that Warnock knows really well from their time at Cardiff and I think it’s clear that it’s a player that he trusts.
The winger may have left the Bluebirds but I don’t think anyone will have any doubts over his ability to still make the cut at Championship level.
He possesses a good level of quality on the flanks and is a player that the club needs after seeing many forward options depart this summer.
I could also see him being a regular starter if he can prove his fitness over the next few weeks for Boro.
This could be another example of Middlesbrough using the free agent market to their advantage.
This makes sense.
Warnock and Hoilett have enjoyed a strong relationship over the years and the Boro manager always seems to get the best out of the Canadian international whenever they work together.
Middlesbrough need to bolster their wide options ahead of the season’s kick-off and to get someone with the experience of Hoilett on a free transfer looks like a sensible solution.
Granted, you do have to wonder just how much Hoilett has left in the tank given his age but as a squad option and in-terms of adding depth, it looks like a good move from Boro.