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…
A new striker has emerged as a potential target for Middlesbrough in the shape of Rotherham United’s Michael Smith.
Reports from the Northern Echo claim that Neil Warnock is running the rule over a number of strikers with the Millers’ man one of the contenders to move to the Riverside Stadium this summer.
Despite Paul Warne’s side suffering relegation this term, Smith has enjoyed a solid season on an individual level with the 29-year-old scoring 10 times for the Yorkshire club.
However with just 12 months left on his deal it seems that Middlesbrough could be set to try their luck.
So would Michael Smith be a good signing for Warnock’s side?
The team at FLW have their say…
I can see this being a decent signing for Middlesbrough if they can get it done.
With Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga already on their way out of the Riverside, it is clear that ‘Boro are going to need to add to their options upfront when the summer transfer window reopens.
When you consider the fact that Smith has managed to make it into double figures in terms of league goals this season despite Rotherham’s struggles – chipping in with a few assists as well – it does seem as though he has the quality to make an impact at this level, something a team further up the division such as ‘Boro could exploit even more.
The physicality that Smith possesses mean you also feel that the 29-year-old could fit in well in Neil Warnock’s ‘Boro side, and given Rotherham may need to raise funds following their relegation, and the fact that Smith is in the final year of his contract – making this their last chance to receive anything for him – this could be affordable for Middlesbrough, making it well worth looking into for the club.
Quiz: Did these 18 players make more than 100 Middlesbrough appearances?
This could be a very wise addition for Middlesbrough to make this summer, with Michael Smith fitting in with the right sort of profile of player that Neil Warnock likes to have leading the line for his sides.
Smith is not a prolific goalscorer, but he has still managed to chip in with a good return of ten goals for Rotherham in a side that have not been the most reliable in the final third this season. He has also provided a real presence upfront for them with his physicality and he is a player that always gives his all and will try and close down defenders and make life difficult for them.
Middlesbrough would need someone to come in and maybe play off Smith, who would be more of a target man than a player they could rely on to fire in 15 plus goals a season. However, the forward has shown with Rotherham he can link the play very well and combine with different types of players in the last third and also be used in different formations.
He is very much a Warnock-type of player. In that regard, he would be able to slot straight into the system that the Middlesbrough boss wants to play next term. If they could get good service into the box then he would be able to chip in with some important goals. This is a signing that I think could be a very good one for Boro.
It’s not a link that completely surprises me, if I’m honest.
We know that the coming summer is going to be a big one for Warnock, with the Middlesbrough boss making no secret of the fact he doesn’t really rate the options he has in attack right now and that he wants reinforcements.
Rotherham’s relegation back into League One will lead to interest in their players, with Smith scoring 10 goals for Paul Warne’s side despite the disappointing conclusion to their season.
Smith’s qualities are limited, but he is a very powerful striker, who provides an outlet at the top of the pitch. He’s got an aggressive style that suits the Championship and he’s the type of player we know Warnock likes.
In that respect, you’d say that Smith would be worth a punt for Boro as they look to reshape their attack for the new season.
My gut feeling, though, is that Warnock will need more if he is to get Boro to the level he desires.
Smith will not solve all his problems.