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Opinion: Middlesbrough need firepower this summer but 32-goal forward isn’t the answer

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If there’s one that can be said about Middlesbrough’s summer transfer business, it’s that fans will see a striker or two arrive at the Riverside this summer.

Neil Warnock is a manager who rarely sits on the fence. After watching his side’s bid for a play-off finish derail towards the end of last season, the experienced 72-year-old already began to plan for 2021/22.

Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher were both missing for the final four games of the season, after being told that their contracts would not be renewed.

In essence, that’s a statement of intent in itself. Assombalonga and Fletcher are two experienced strikers at this level, both likely to be on high wages, but are both on the lookout for new clubs following Warnock’s bold decision.

Warnock now goes into the summer window on the lookout for new attacking options and firepower, especially with Chuba Akpom also reportedly available for transfer.

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Naturally, several strikers are being linked. The latest report from Football Insider claims that Boro are among those keeping an eye on Paul Mullin’s situation at Cambridge United.

A year ago, you would be forgiven for not being too familiar with Mullin, but after an exceptional season in front of goal in League Two, he’s quite rightly attracting interest from higher leagues.

The 26-year-old – a summer arrival from Tranmere Rovers on a one-year deal – netted an incredible 32 goals for Cambridge United in League Two, as they won promotion to League One this term.

Mullin’s form saw him be crowned the League Two Player of the Season, and with his contract now up at the Abbey Stadium, clubs are weighing up moves for him on a free transfer.

On the face of it, Mullin is a very attractive proposition. To score 32 goals in a single league campaign, whichever division that’s in, is no mean feat whatsoever, especially considering how open and competitive League Two was in 2020/21.

But before now, Mullin had failed to set the world alight. The 26-year-old scored three goals in 20 League One appearances for Tranmere Rovers in 2019/20, as they were relegated to League Two. The season before that, he scored only four goals in 22 League Two outings, as they won promotion under Micky Mellon.

Whilst it is hard to discredit the season Mullin has just had, you also have to question whether the step up to the Championship would be too much for him based on his previous track record.

Middlesbrough, as well, will be targeting a play-off push next season, after finishing 10th and missing out on a top-six spot this term.

There can be no denying that extra firepower is needed, and whilst many strikers will be on the radar this summer, Mullin would be an undeniable risk.


Nottingham-based journalist who regularly covers Nottingham Forest home and away.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Middlesbrough need firepower this summer but 32-goal forward isn’t the answer

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