Middlesbrough look set to be dealt a double blow as two strikers look set to depart at the end of the current campaign.
TEAMtalk understands that Britt Assombalonga looks set to join Scottish Premiership champions Rangers, whilst Ashley Fletcher looks likely to play no part for the club in between now and the end of the season.
Assombalonga, 28, is leaving the Riverside after four years after a £15million move from Nottingham Forest. Having been signed to score the goals to guide Boro back to the top flight, it never really worked out for the former Peterborough man – scoring less than 50 goals during his time with the club.
Middlesbrough tried to move him on in January and looked at a possible exchange with Bristol City’s Famara Diedhiou. However, the striker’s huge wages meant that was a non-starter.
It comes after a bit of a U-turn from Neil Warnock, who has gone from naming him captain earlier in the campaign to leaving him out of the squad altogether in recent weeks.
“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,” the Boro boss told the Northern Echo.
“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.
“I’ve had no problems with him, but I’m not going to take him (to matches) for the sake of taking him to put him on the team sheet. We’ve got one or two other strikers on the team sheet.”
Meanwhile, Fletcher has not put pen to paper on a new deal and will leave when his contract is up in June, with Sheffield United amongst the club interested in the forward.
And in an interview with Teeside Live, Warnock claims he was ‘disappointed’ in the player having wanted him to stay and play his part next season. He went on to say that Fletcher had gone back on his word that he would sign a contract extension.
“It disappointed me at the time because I thought the offer that we made was fabulous really, particularly in the current climate,” said Warnock.
“I thought it was an offer that he couldn’t turn down if I’m honest.
“I’m one of those people who talks to people about signing for the club and if they tell me they will and then don’t, I always think I’m better off without them.
“If they change their mind and go elsewhere, I always think good riddance.”