Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has suggested that Boro could yet add to their attacking options before the transfer window closes with fresh hope over the prospect of adding a Premier League forward and also the club closing in on a wide player.
Warnock has been keen to bolster his options upfront this month, but it had been looking like Boro would be frustrated in their efforts and be forced to settle with what they had. Middlesbrough still have the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Chuba Akpom to call upon in the attacking third, but between them, they have scored just nine league goals so far this term.
Boro have also been keen to add to their options in the wide positions this month, with Warnock having stressed the importance of signing a natural winger before the window closes. A deal to sign Everton’s Yannick Bolasie in the summer was thwarted at the final moments, but they are now closing in on the loan arrival of an alternative winger.
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Speaking to the Northern Echo ahead of Middlesbrough’s meeting with Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, Warnock revealed that Boro have one option left in terms of adding a striker with a Premier League forward potentially being made available but that could come down to the last minute. While he also confirmed talks are progressing with a top-flight club for the signing of a wide player.
He said: “We’ve got one option left as a striker, which would be a possibility.
“That would be a loan at the last minute. If it doesn’t happen, we’ll stick with what we’ve got.
“We’ve got three good strikers when they play, so you can’t really have a go. But the other night when you looked at the forward line Forest finished up – (Lyle) Taylor, (Lewis) Grabban, (Anthony) Knockaert, (Sammy) Ameobi – it’s some forward line that. But you’ve just got to get on with it and do the best with what you have.
“I would expect it’ll go to the wire (signing of wide player)
“We are hoping it happens before then because we’d like to have him involved against Rotherham. You saw the other night on the bench, there wasn’t a lot there. We could do with a couple more attacking options, so I’d like to get something done before Wednesday.
“We’re constantly talking to the club and the player. And the same is true of the striker, but the striker will be at the last minute I’d think. Then, it’s down to the player if he chooses us – I think there will be three or four clubs in for him.”
This latest update suggests that it is likely that Middlesbrough will at least manage to bring in the wide player that Warnock has been wanting throughout the transfer window. That would be a major boost for Boro and allow the options to freshen things up from the bench and potential greater tactical versatility in the way Warnock can set the side up.
It will be interesting to see who the Premier League forward turns out out be that Boro have been looking at adding to the squad. Warnock feels that he needs more of a goal threat in the final third to help fire Boro to the play-offs. Fletcher’s injury issues have hampered their threat going forwards and firepower has been lacking at times this campaign.
Bringing in another striker who could improve their ability in the final third might prove to be the difference between missing out on the top six or getting over the line in the play-off race. Warnock will be facing an anxious period over the next week or so to see if he can convince both club and player to make the move.