Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough have displayed massive signs of improvement over the course of the season, however, a lack of cutting edge, along with stark inconsistencies in performance, have hindered their chances of making the play-offs.
The Boro boss knows the Championship as well as anyone and will be aware of what’s needed – in terms of playing personnel – to challenge for promotion next season.
Strikers Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombolonga are both out of contract in the summer, meaning at least one new striker will be needed, potentially two depending on whether Fletcher agrees a new deal.
January arrivals Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Yannick Bolasie and Neeskens Kebano have helped to fill the void out wide. However, all three are only at the club on a short-term basis.
Kebano’s future availability will largely depend upon which division his parent club end up in next season. If Fulham remain a Premier League club, it’s likely he will be surplus to requirements at Craven Cottage and may be available on another loan deal. If not, he will probably prove a useful asset to Fulham as they look to get promoted at the first time of asking.
Bolasie and Mendez-Laing are both out of contract in the summer and could be picked up for free.
Whether Middlesbrough will have the financial resources available to agree a deal with Bolasie is another question.
Mendez-Laing has shown what he’s capable of in flashes, however, it’s yet to be seen whether he has done enough to impress Warnock and earn a longer-term deal.
When asked about Bolasie, Warnock said: “I think it’s difficult. He and Mendez haven’t played for months and to have them, even from the bench, has been a real plus.”
He added, “We’ll need to sign someone for both sides in the summer – we need left and right.
“It’s whether – on the financial side, we’re able to put a package together.
“We’ve just got to get through the last six games and see where we’re at.”