Last season Middlesbrough were relegated from the Premier League after scoring just 27 goals in 38 games. This was the lowest in the full league. Also, last season’s top scorer Alvaro Negredo, with 10 goals, was not signed by Boro due to them being relegated. Meaning Middlesbrough’s only out and out striker is now Rudy Gestede.
Therefore it is clear that Middlesbrough need to add at least one star striker if they wish to win the Championship. Brit Assombalonga has been a target of Boro’s for a while now to fill this striker spot. However, the Teessider’s are facing competition from Premier League side Burnley. Due to Middlesbrough being relegated it is unlikely that Assombalonga will choose Boro over Burnley if the Clarets meet Nottingham Forests £15 mill asking price for their star striker.
So, as it’s unlikely Middlesbrough will be able to beat Burnley to the signing of Assombalonga Boro should now switch their attention to a new forward. That is exactly what they have done. Reports have emerged that Middlesbrough are interested in signing Toulouse forward Martin Braithwaite. Braithwaite has been at the French side since 2013. But now looks to be on the move this summer.
Here is why Middlesbrough needs to sign him.
Goal scoring ability
Martin Braithwaite spent last season playing in Ligue 1 for Toulouse. The striker played a total of 34 league games, scoring 11 goals and earning three assists. Granted 11 goals in 34 games isn’t too out of this world. However, when you consider that Braithwaite was playing for Toulouse it looks a lot more respectable. Toulouse themselves finished 13th in Ligue 1 last season which shows they are not the greatest team in the world.
They also did not score the most goals either managing just 37 in 38 games. Braithwaite, however, was their stand out player. He scored almost a third of their goals and is a big reason why they managed to avoid relegation last season.
Therefore, if Braithwaite can score 11 goals in the top French division while at a team that didn’t exactly help him increases his goal scoring tally then he will certainly be a great goal scorer in the Championship if Middlesbrough sign him.
Another key reason why Middlesbrough should sign Braithwaite is due to the pace he brings. He is one of the fastest strikers in Ligue 1 and has enough pace to worry any defence.
Braithwaite’s pace is especially important to a side like Middlesbrough. Last season Boro lacked very little pace in the team with Adam Traore being the only real fast player in the squad. The lack of pace was so bad it was even recognised by Boro chairman Steve Gibson. Gibson was interviewed in May this year following Middlesbrough’s relegation. In the interview, a key issue he brought up was the need for Boro to ‘add pace and flair’.
Braithwaite will certainly fit the criteria and perhaps, more importantly, give Boro a different option up front. Because as mentioned earlier Gestede is Boro’s only current out and out striker. Gestede is 6 ft 4 and has very little pace. This limits Boro to the way they can play going forward as Gestede is hardly the man to be running in behind defences. However, if Boro sign Martin it will certainly change the way Boro can play while also adding much-needed pace.
Finally, Braithwaite also brings versatility due to the fact he can play multiple positions. The Toulouse striker is naturally a centre forward and played 21 of his 34 league games last season up top. However, he also managed to play 13 games out on the left wing where he still did well scoring four goals in his 13 appearances there.
This shows he would be a great asset to the Boro squad as he gives Garry Monk different options and can fill in for someone at left wing if there is an injury. Furthermore, the fact Martin can play left wing is especially important to Middlesbrough. Because last season Boro had two left wingers. Viktor Fischer who has now moved to Mainz in the Bundesliga and Stewart Downing. While Downing is still at the club he has been told by new boss Garry Monk that he is no longer needed. So, now Fischer has left and Downing is not wanted, Middlesbrough currently have no left wingers. Meaning it is clear that Monk needs to sign some wingers asap. This again is another position Braithwaite can fill and is a great example of why Boro must sign him.
Overall, Braithwaite would be a great signing because he is a proven goal scorer, brings much-needed pace and can also play left wing which is a position Boro are lacking depth in currently.
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