Middlesbrough key figure delivers verdict on player’s future as twist emerges | OneFootball

Middlesbrough key figure delivers verdict on player’s future as twist emerges

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Football League World

Middlesbrough are now set to retain forward Chuba Akpom after seeing him impress following his return to the first team, according to a report from the Northern Echo.

The former Arsenal man was told earlier in the summer that he could leave the club with manager Chris Wilder previously looking as though he was going to have a major rebuild in the forward department.

Uche Ikpeazu was also told similar, with the former Cardiff City loanee looking as though he may be departing the Riverside Stadium between now and the end of the window if Boro get their way.

Quiz: Can you name which club Middlesbrough signed these 25 English players from?

1 of 25

Steve Vickers

Spennymoor United Birmingham City Tranmere Rovers Sunderland

As well as this, Andraz Sporar, Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun have all left the club following the expiration of their loan deals at the end of last season.

Despite enduring a slower transfer window than many would have expected, they did manage to make a breakthrough during the latter stages of last month with Marcus Forss arriving on Teesside in a permanent deal from Brentford.

They are also set to recruit Matthew Hoppe, but with Duncan Watmore previously suffering from fitness issues and Josh Coburn out injured at this stage, more options will be needed in the forward department if they want to give themselves the best possible chance of being successful this term.

And Wilder has hinted that Akpom could be set to stay as an option, saying: “He’s part of the group so as far as I am concerned, he is part of the group until I am told otherwise.

“You can go and ask the boy if he is enjoying but you’ve seen through his performances. When he came on for half an hour against Marseille and when he has played second half today.

“He enjoys the way we play and we enjoy working with him so fingers crossed it is one less thing that we need to do.”

The Verdict:

Akpom’s attitude has been first class throughout this summer with Wilder changing his mind – one reason why he deserves to remain at the Riverside as a first-teamer.

In an ideal world, the second-tier side need around five options to try and ensure they can still play two up front, even when a couple of forward players like Coburn are on the sidelines.

And with Boro not just needing to address their forward also, but also other areas, it makes sense to keep Akpom who is already accustomed to life on Teesside and has performed well during 2022/23 so far.

You can never have enough central defenders when operating with a back three, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them bring in another central defender between now and the end of the transfer window.

And they are also in need of a replacement for Marcus Tavernier as well as more depth in general in the middle of the park, so having Akpom available should give them less to do in the transfer market.

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