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Opinion: Middlesbrough’s rumoured pursuit of in-demand EFL forward could turn out to be a shrewd move



Middlesbrough will be hoping they can mount a serious push for promotion into the Premier League next season under the management of Neil Warnock. 

Boro finished this year’s campaign tenth in the Championship, and 13 points adrift of the play-off positions, which will have been frustrating for the club’s supporters, as they had previously been in contention to force themselves into the top-six under Warnock’s management earlier in the campaign.

It was a summer of change at the end of the 2020/21 season though, with a number of players heading for the exit door at The Riverside when their contracts reached a conclusion.

Both Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher were among those to depart, as the club looked to cut the wage bill heading towards the new league campaign.

But Neil Warnock is seemingly looking to replace them in the near future it seems, with Sky Sports’ Lyall Thomas reporting that Middlesbrough are one of the teams interested in signing Wycombe Wanderers forward Uche Ikpeazu, although it remains to be seen as to which team is leading the race to strike an agreement for the 26-year-old.

Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Millwall are also believed to be interested in a deal to land Ikpeazu’s signature ahead of the new Championship season.

Ikpeazu has been with the Chairboys since 2020, having previously been on the books with Hearts, Watford and Reading earlier in his career.

He’s wasted no time in making a positive impact in the Wycombe squad, and scored six goals in 33 appearances for Gareth Ainsworth’s side, although his efforts weren’t quite enough, as they were relegated back into League One after just one season in the second tier of English football.

You can completely understand Middlesbrough’s interest in signing Ikpeazu this summer, as not only do they need additional options in attack, but he’d suit their style of play whilst Neil Warnock is in charge of the club.

Warnock is known for playing a direct style of football, with Boro averaging 47.3% possession (as per Transfermarkt) from the 2020/21 season, which means they’re often reliant on a forward holding the ball up and bringing other players into attacks going forward.

Ikpeazu can certainly do that, and we’ve seen that on display with both Wycombe Wanderers and Hearts in recent seasons, which could make him a shrewd signing for Warnock’s side.

With the likes of Duncan Watmore showing his eye for goal for Boro in the 2020/21 season, if he had a player of Ikpeazu’s strength and pace to bring them into attacking moves moving forward, then Middlesbrough could potentially be the ‘dark horses’ to make a serious push for promotion into the Premier League this season.

Editorial Assistant at Snack Media, writing for Football League World on a regular basis! Sports Journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Middlesbrough’s rumoured pursuit of in-demand EFL forward could turn out to be a shrewd move

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