Middlesbrough Opinion: Why Boro should snap up free agent Kadeem Harris
According to a report from the Gazzetta Live, Middlesbrough are set to battle Sheffield Wednesday for free agent Kadeem Harris, who was released by Cardiff City earlier this month after his contract expired.
Kadeem Harris, 26, joined Cardiff City from Wycombe in 2012 and went on to make 79 appearances for the Welsh outfit, scoring seven goals. He made 15 appearances in all competitions last season for the Bluebirds, scoring one goal – the winner against Fulham last October.
The 26-year-old’s availability as a free agent has perhaps attracted the attention of Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday, but it’s the former that must succeed in snapping him up.
Middlesbrough will be hoping for a fresh start ahead of the 2018/19 campaign after the club missed out on promotion yet again. The Teesside club are now on the lookout for a new manager having let go of Tony Pulis following the expiry of his contract at the Riverside.
Jonathan Woodgate is hotly linked with the vacant job at Middlesbrough, who’ll aspire to mount another promotion challenge next season. Woodgate is no stranger to the Middlesbrough faithful, having made over 110 appearances for the club as a player and has been part of the coaching staff for the last couple of years. Should the 39-year-old replace Pulis, he’ll have a mighty task of rebuilding the squad.
And one of the most important areas Woodgate will need to strengthen in the summer is Boro’s attack, which failed to thrill the supporters under Pulis last campaign. The Teesside club have lacked real pace in their attacking department since the departure of Adama Traore to Wolves last season, so a winger definitely has to be a priority.
Kadeem Harris certainly fits the bill. A direct, athletic and pacey attacker, the 26-year-old would bring in a lot of zest, speed and energy to Boro’s attacking ranks that they lacked out wide last season. The Englishman has shown he is a good player and he could certainly get into the Boro side and make a big impact.
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The ex-Cardiff star will give the Teessiders a real direct, attacking threat down the wide areas, combining potentially well with the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Marcus Tavernier and Lewis Wing. Harris has shown plenty of potential but has failed to fully live up to the expectations, which is perhaps something he may get a chance to do at the Riverside stadium.
On a free transfer, Harris would be a brilliant signing for Boro, as the 26-year-old speedster also knows what it takes to achieve promotion.
Middlesbrough would make a solid statement by signing this 24-goal hitman to fire themselves to promotion
Middlesbrough Opinion: Why Boro should go all out to sign Dwight Gayle?
According to a report from the Daily Star, Middlesbrough are interested in signing Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle this summer.
Dwight Gayle, 28, spent the last season on long at West Brom, with Salomon Rondon going the opposite direction. He netted 24 goals in 39 Championship appearances, being one of the driving forces behind the Baggies promotion charge which ended in play-off semi-finals defeat to rivals Aston Villa.
After it was confirmed that West Brom would spend another season in England’s second tier, the club opted not to make Gayle’s signing permanent.
Gayle is back at Newcastle but isn’t expected to stay as he is not a part of Rafael Benitez’s future plans. That being said, Middlesbrough must do everything possible to sign the 28-year-old this summer.
Middlesbrough appointed Jonathan Woodgate as their manager on Friday to succeed Tony Pulis, who departed at the end of last season when Boro missed out on the play-offs. The 39-year-old will have a huge task of building the squad as per his own image and playing an attractive brand of football to bring the fans back to Riverside.
By bringing in several quality additions during the transfer window, Woodgate will undoubtedly be pushing for promotion next term. Following a season in which Middlesbrough scored just 49 goals, it’s clear where the newly-appointed manager should focus first while signing players.
A need to strengthen the centre-forward department is paramount, with a lack of goals proving to be really troublesome for Boro last season. And with this mind, Dwight Gayle would be perfect for the Teesside outfit.
In recent years, Gayle has thrived in the second tier of English football and his record in the second-tier of English football is phenomenal. During the recently concluded season, the experienced striker scored 24 goals from his 39 Championship appearances for West Brom, who finished fourth in the division.
That simply tells what a lethal finisher the 28-year-old is and how would he help Boro improve upon the potency of their play in the final third next term.
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If Gayle returns to the Championship next season, the team that lands him will surely be in with a brilliant chance of getting across the line in the promotion race. If it is Middlesbrough, his goals could make all the difference at the Riverside Stadium.
Woodgate will be well aware that he’ll need more depth and quality in forward department to mount a promotion charge, but it remains to be seen how a player like Gayle would be welcomed by the Middlesbrough faithful.
West Brom beating Middlesbrough to sign this incredibly skilled 20-year-old PL starlet would be a massive coup
West Brom Opinion: Baggies should beat Boro in the race to sign Reece Oxford
Bristol Post understands that Oxford was set to join German Bundesliga outfit Augsburg permanently this summer following a successful loan spell in the second half of the last season but the deal is on the verge of collapsing.
Both the Championship promotion-hopefuls are looking to take advantage of the situation and Bristol Post claims that they have firmed up their interest in the 20-year-old talented starlet.
Middlesbrough finished 7th in the Championship this past season and narrowly missed out on the final playoff spot, while West Brom’s chances of making it back to the Premier League at the first time of asking ended with a defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in the playoff semi-finals.
However, both the teams will be expected to make a renewed surge for promotion next term and they have already started identifying potential transfer targets in a bid to bolster their ranks.
A youth product of West Ham, Reece Oxford was regarded as one of the brightest prospects of English football when he broke into the Hammers first-team in the 2015-16 season, aged just 16. The starlet made 7 Premier League appearances in his debut season for the East Londoners but he fell out of favour thereafter, subsequently spending loan spells at Reading in the Championship and Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Oxford was once again loaned out to Augsburg back in January 2019, where he made 8 Bundesliga appearances for the German outfit before returning to East London upon the expiry of his loan agreement.
He has found regular minutes increasingly difficult to come by at his boyhood club, and with the Hammers showing a lot of ambition under Manuel Pellegrini, the 20-year-old can’t expect things to take a dramatic turnaround next term.
The centre-back has only made 17 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions till date, whilst also representing England at all youth levels from U-16 to U-20. Oxford continues to be an exceptional talent but one can get the feeling that he needs regular exposure at the highest level and stability in his career to realise his full potential in the years to come.
Given that he has already had loan stints at three different clubs, settling down somewhere permanently would do his development a world of good.
To put things into perspective, Oxford would be an ideal signing for both Middlesbrough and West Brom, considering the fact that he is still only 20 and has plenty of time to smoothen the rough edges in his game. However, taking last season’s statistics into account, it has to be said that the Baggies need him more than the Teessiders.
Middlesbrough held the joint best defensive record with Sheffield United in the Championship this past season, with the Teessiders conceding only 41 goals in 46 league outings.
West Brom, on the other hand, shipped as many as 62 goals and shared the joint-worst defensive record with Swansea City in the top ten. Hence, it is pretty clear that whoever takes over as the permanent manager at the Hawthorns need to look at defensive reinforcements.
Despite boasting of the likes of Craig Dawson, Ahmed Hegazi and Kyle Bartley in central defence, West Brom’s backline showed signs of creaking under pressure last season. Moreover, the imminent departures of loanees Tosin Adarabioyo and Mason Holgate to their parent clubs Man City and Everton respectively should open up a vacancy at the back.
Suffice to say, West Brom need to increase competition for places at the back and bringing in Reece Oxford would be an excellent idea, keeping in mind the club’s long-term, as well as short-term goals. The 20-year-old already has a Premier League and Bundesliga experience under his belt and he could go on to play a big role for the Baggies in the Championship next term.
Standing at 6ft. 3 inches with a towering and well-built frame, Oxford is a fast and agile centre-back, who is noted for his physicality, aerial prowess, composure in possession and incredible ball-playing abilities. The 20-year-old’s ball-playing qualities have often prompted managers to use him in a holding midfield role, meaning that he is versatile to play in multiple positions.
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Having said that, West Brom winning the race for Reece Oxford would help the Baggies get one over their promotion rivals Middlesbrough, as both the teams look to return to the top-flight next term.
Middlesbrough are eyeing up a move for Dutch winger Sheraldo Becker
Middlesbrough are eyeing up a move for Dutch winger Sheraldo Becker, according to The Football Insider.
The 22-year-old is set to become a free agent from ADO Den Haag later this month and the Boro are in advance talks to persuade him to the Riverside Stadium.
Becker had an eye-catching season with the Dutch outfit, racking up a fair share of eight goals and assists in all competitions.
An academy graduate of the Eredivisie giants Ajax, Becker hardly featured for the main team over three seasons before he decided to seek an exit.
He also had his notable loan spells with the Ajax’s reserves side, Jong Ajax and PEC Zwolle.
Furthermore, the Promising Dutch youngster has represented his national side at various age levels.
How will Becker influence the Boro?
The Boros had a great chance of making it to the playoffs in the recently ended campaign but failed to make a cut in the final third of the competition.
And the Championship outfit under Tony Pulis often deployed a 3-5-1-1 formation which restricted the usage of wingers. Meanwhile, the Boro’s primary striker Britt Assombalonga failed to create a big impression as he scored only 14 goals in 42 games.
Becker would help the Boro revive themselves and contend for the promotion in the upcoming season, as SBD presently have them at 7/2 to get back to the Premier League next season. The Dutch youngster’s daunting pace, the knack of playing long balls and crosses and the familiarity with various roles up in front makes him a force to be reckoned with.
And the Boros’ managerial position is currently vacant after Pulis parted ways with the club. Liam Rosenier, Brighton’s U-23 manager, emerges as the shocking contender for the manager job.
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