Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough side have endured rotten luck with new signing Sammy Ameobi this summer after signing him on a free transfer, following the expiration of his contract at Nottingham Forest.
The loss of Marvin Johnson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in recent months has made it vital the 72-year-old brought in fresh faces out wide to provide them with a different option going forward – and in fairness to Boro – they acted quickly in getting Ameobi in back at the end of June.
The 21-year-old was previously all set to arrive at the Riverside Stadium but Stade Reims are now said to have hijacked that deal and have had a bid accepted by Heerenveen for his services, leaving it down to the player to decide who he joins.
As per the same Football Insider report, his first choice is thought to be Stade Reims, a crushing blow to the Teesside club this late on in the transfer window.
Although they may have other targets in mind, there are just five days to go until the end of the transfer window and have a very limited amount of time to bring in an alternative.
They may need a winger to come in even with Ameobi returning at some point – but what else do they need to go with that? A backup plan.
At this stage of the window, putting together a contingency plan can often be the difference between finishing in the top six and remaining out of the promotion race.
Boro aren’t just there to make up the numbers and in what might be one of his last seasons as manager, Warnock will be especially keen to get a promotion on his CV after seeing his side spend time in and around the play-offs at times last term.
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This is why they should bring in former Sheffield Wednesday winger Kadeem Harris on trial ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline.
After failing to earn a contract at Reading earlier this month, he will be keen to find a new club and his time with the Royals shows he would be willing to relocate.
Not only does the 28-year-old have a considerable amount of experience from his time at the Owls and Cardiff City, but he’s also a pacey winger who has the ability to be in behind second-tier defences and isn’t scared of taking on his full-back.
He might not be the most technically gifted player on paper, but you can always count on Neil Warnock to work his magic and get the very best out of his players.
With Harris being available on a free transfer, this is a deal the club could easily get over the line without any fuss, with no EFL transfer restrictions to operate under and the ability to make a decision on him even after the transfer deadline passes due to his status as an unattached player.
And let’s face it, Harris may not mind sitting on the bench for a while when Ameobi returns, because the former Sheffield Wednesday man will just be grateful to have another crack at the Championship.
As well as this, this low-risk, low-cost acquisition could allow them to invest more money into strengthening problematic positions in January, which can only be good for a side that may just need one or two tweaks in the winter window to put them in contention for a play-off place.
Remarkably, Harris may not even be needed if another winger arrives. But Boro need to keep their options open with the Van Bergen deal on the verge of falling through and just five days left to conclude any remaining business.
The talented 28-year-old will allow them to do this.