With the Championship season coming to a close this weekend, clubs will already be looking ahead to the summer.
All clubs in the division will be looking to strengthen their side for next campaign, whether they finish near the bottom of the table, or the top.
One area in particular that is vital to clubs succeeding in the second tier is goals – with any good Championship side needing a man through the middle that can comfortably hit double digits.
Fortunately for the clubs that do not have one, there is an option worth taking a punt on for free this summer.
That man is Michael Smith, the 30 year old Rotherham United striker who is out of contract come the end of June.
Many Championship clubs, whom shall be discussed, could do far worse than pick up the phone to Smith’s representatives in the coming weeks.
What can he offer?
To put it simply, Michael Smith has had a phenomenal campaign in 2021/22.
The striker has 24 goals in all competitions to his name, including 18 in League One, and also registered six assists across the season.
When you factor in the hold up play he can also offer, and the intelligence he possesses, it should be a no-brainer for a host of Championship clubs to consider his talents.
Adding to that, when he has been in the second tier previously, he has managed to find the back of the net in struggling sides.
For example, in 2018/19 he scored eight goals and registered four assists in the second tier, and in 2020/21 he managed 10 goals and three assists.
Looking around the Championship, there are clearly clubs scattered throughout the table that are in need of goals.
Look at Middlesbrough, for example. If they do not achieve promotion through the play-offs and remain in the Championship next season, why not try to bring Smith in on a free?
The ultimate Middlesbrough end of season quiz – We’ll be impressed if you score above 80% on this
Their highest scorer this campaign is a central midfielder, and boss Chris Wilder recently admitted that Middlesbrough’s strikers have not been good enough this campaign.
It’s likely that had they had a true goalscorer this season, they would have already wrapped up a play-off spot, rather than heading into the final day outside the top six.
Similarly, a club like Cardiff are also desperate for a goalscorer, given that Kieffer Moore was sold to AFC Bournemouth in January.
Their top scorer this season had just six goals – a tally that Smith would have absolutely no trouble in surpassing and in terms of profile, Moore and Smith have some similarities with regards to their ability to bring others into play whilst also finding the net.
Hull City – another club that could use Smith’s services, given that they are having to rely so heavily on young star Keane Lewis-Potter for goals at present.
Even he has just twelve goals this season, with their next highest scorer having five. Once again, Smith has shown he is very capable of far surpassing that tally.
Sign him up
All things considered then, whilst some fans may turn their noses up at Michael Smith because he is nearing 31-years-old and coming up from League One, there are plenty of reasons, if you’re a Championship club, to give him a chance.
He has shown he is capable of finding the net at this level in a struggling side previously, and off the back of a brilliant League One campaign, will be feeling as confident as ever.
Not only that, but there is so much more to his game than just his goals, with his link up play able to bring others into play.
On a free transfer this summer, attempting to bring in Michael Smith should be an absolute no-brainer for a host of clubs in the second tier.