Five early potential destinations for Assombalonga after Warnock confirms Middlesbrough striker won’t play for him
Britt Assombalonga is a striker who trundled from the Peterborough production line like so many others had before him.
He sits there alongside the likes of Jack Marriott, Dwight Gayle, and Ivan Toney as Posh frontmen who have moved on from London Road and up the league ladder to higher divisions and more prestigious clubs.
In 28-year-old Assombalonga’s case, that was a £5.5m move from the Cambridgeshire outfit to Nottingham Forest in early August 2014.
Now he is nearing the end of his time at Middlesbrough, for whom he signed in a £15m transfer in July 2017. This comes amid a contract running down and Neil Warnock’s assertion that he will not play under him the rest of this 2020/21 campaign.
Britt Assombalonga: goals at Posh and Forest – dwindled drought at Boro
Peterborough brought Assombalonga from Watford in July 2013 – paying around £1.7m for his capture in a club-record deal after selling Dwight Gayle to Crystal Palace.
He was prolific for Peterborough, scoring 33 goals (five assists) in just 58 games for the Posh. That saw the move to Nottingham Forest where his deadliness in front of goal continued.
In 69 games for the Reds, Assombalonga netted 30 goals and provided two assists. That return was enough to convince Boro to dig deep into the company coffers and break their transfer record to sign him.
Whilst he was red-hot in front of goal for both Peterborough United and Nottingham Forest, the opposite has turned out during his time on Teesside – especially this campaign. In 159 games for Boro, Assombalonga has hit just 47 goals spread across four seasons.
This season represents the biggest drop in form from the previous three campaigns in Boro colours where he hit 14 goals (2017/18), 15 goals (2018/19) and 11 goals (2019/20). This season, Assombalonga has a return of just five goals from 29 Championship games.
Warnock comment for finished Assombalonga
Writing in the Northern Echo, reporter Scott Wilson relayed Warnock’s words that Assombalonga is not going to play any further part in Middlesbrough’s season. Wilson quotes Warnock as saying:
“Is there an acceptance that he will leave in the summer? Yes, I think that’s been common knowledge for a few months really, from both parties. It’s difficult because he’s been my captain. I’m not going to mess him about. It’s not his fault his contract is up and he’s on a good contract.”
With Assombalonga having no future at The Riverside, here are five possible sides that could consider a move for the once-prolific striker.
Five possible sides who could target Assombalonga
Lacking goals from their front line, Nottingham Forest could move for their former striker when his contract runs out in the summer. Lyle Taylor (four), Lewis Grabban (three) and Sammy Ameobi (three) lead Forest’s scorers in an underwhelming striking display. Assombalonga would add a much better threat to the Reds frontline strikers.
Ivan Toney is blazing away at the London side and should top 30 goals this season. If the Bees get promoted to the Premier League, he will lead their line. However, should they remain in the Championship then Toney is as good as gone. Backed up by Brentford’s potent attacking midfield, Assombalonga would have few problems finding that goal-scoring touch again.
The Royals, after blasting away the opposition at the start of the season are now clinging to a play-off spot. Should they not go up, the Berkshire outfit could do much worse than make a move for Assombalonga. Lucas Joao leads the Madejski goal count with 18 and seven assists but he could be a summer target for others – as could Michael Olise who is interesting Premier League sides. Money would be there and Reading would need a striker.
Would his former club step in and reinvigorate his career once more? The London Road outfit are currently 2nd in the League One table and are so partly by virtue of 25 goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris. He could be poached by a Championship side in the summer meaning, if Posh go up, they’d need a replacement. Assombalonga on a free, leading the line with Sammie Szmodics (12 goals/five assists) and Siriki Dembele (seven goals/10 assists) providing the ammunition would be something to look out for.
Relegated well before last season ended, the Tigers could be a possible destination for Assombalonga is they regain their Championship place. They lead to League One table thanks to the 17 goals of Mallik Wilks and 11 goals of Josh Magennis. With that duo, supported by 12-assist king George Honeyman, Britt Assombalonga might just rediscover his scoring boots once more.