Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom labels last season ‘difficult’ and says he is ‘so happy’ at new loan club
Middlesbrough forward Chuba Akpom has spoken out to PAOK TV about a ‘difficult’ campaign last time out.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock had many options up front last season but the veteran was not wholly convinced by any. Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Chuba Akpom have all been allowed to leave the club either permanently or on loan.
Both Assombalonga and Fletcher were not offered new deals and have since joined Adana Demirspor and Watford respectively. Akpom on the other hand has been shipped out on loan to his former side PAOK in Greece.
He joined Middlesbrough from the Thessaloniki-based side last summer and started the season incredibly well, scoring two in his first two games. However, he only scored a further three goals in his next 36 games.
After re-signing for PAOK, Akpom expressed his joy at securing the move.
“I’m so happy to be back, so happy to be playing in black and white, so happy to be playing with the coach and teammates again,” he said.
“Although this is a place where I’ve been before and had a lot of success and I’m familiar with the fans, coming back home you have nerves. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or excitement but I was very motivated.”
He explained that his last campaign at Middlesbrough in the Championship was a ‘difficult’ one, and suggested that Warnock didn’t believe in him.
“On the pitch, it was a difficult season last season but I feel like this is a clean slate for me, playing with a coach that believes in me, I’m excited for the season.”
Akpom started his second stint at PAOK well, scoring in his second debut. He scored in their UEFA Europa Conference League opener against Lincoln, with the Greek side winning 2-0 on the night. He came on in their most recent outing, as they won 1-0 against Asteras Tripolis.
If he is to come back to Middlesbrough at the end of the season he would be in direct competition with Uche Ikpeazu and potentially Andraz Sporar, who could join permanently if clauses are met. Duncan Watmore is another who can play up top and so Akpom could be down the pecking order and pushing for another move away.