According to Hartlepool Mail, Middlesbrough are interested in signing West Ham starlet Grady Diangana on a season-long loan deal this summer, with the report claiming that new manager Jonathan Woodgate is likely to take significant steps towards bolstering his attacking ranks ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Hartlepool Mail understands that Boro are set to face stiff competition from a number of Championship clubs in their pursuit of the 21-year-old England youth international. The youngster made eyeballs turn with some dazzling performances over the course of an impressive breakthrough season at East London the last term.
Diangana, who made his senior debut for West Ham in the 8-0 drubbing of Macclesfield Town in the League Cup last year, scored twice in his first competitive appearance for the Hammers. He subsequently went on to make 17 appearances in the Premier League under Manuel Pellegrini.
The 21-year-old played a key role in the Hammers’ 4-2 victory over Burnley at home back in November and his scintillating performances in a few other games earned him plaudits from fans and pundits alike. In fact, he has been tipped by many to be the next first-team star to have emerged from West Ham’s production line.
Despite that, however, Pellegrini is still unsure whether or not he will be able to provide Diangana with enough first-team involvement in the upcoming season, knowing that lack of regular minutes is only going to hamper his development. (h/t Hartlepool Mail)
That is exactly the reason why a loan move to the Championship has come up as a more realistic option and it makes perfect sense, given that dropping down to the second tier would allow Diangana to play more regularly and work on the flaws in his game.
He is still very much in his formative years as a footballer and playtime is something that he just cannot afford to compromise on at this stage of his career.
To put things into perspective, Middlesbrough are yet to flex their muscles in the summer transfer window but it is a no-brainer that the Teessiders would eventually need to complete a few signings before the deadline to give themselves a chance of competing for the playoffs next season.
Spanish goalkeeper Tomas Mejias is the only new arrival at the Riverside Stadium so far but that is likely to change very soon.
Boro recently lost the services of centre-back Aden Flint, who departed for Cardiff City, but defensive reinforcements aren’t likely to be a priority for Woodgate this summer.
Boro scored only 49 goals in the Championship last season and while that had a lot to do with Tony Pulis’ style of play, it is worth mentioning here that the key players up front just didn’t do enough to propel the team to a playoff spot.
The Teessiders are already short of options in the wide areas following the departure of veteran Stewart Downing earlier in the summer.
Marcus Tavernier continues to be a promising prospect and one would expect to see a lot more of him under Woodgate next season but someone like Diangana would be an excellent addition to the ranks.
The 21-year-old not only boasts of lightning pace and amazing acceleration but he also more than capable of terrorising full-backs with his dribbling skills and the ability to change directions in the blink of an eye.
A sharp, agile and energetic wide player with a keen eye for key passes in the final third, Diangana is essentially a right-winger by trade due to his left-footed nature but he is equally adept at operating down the left-hand side of the pitch and through the centre as an attacking midfielder.
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Hence, it is easy to see why someone like Diangana could add that X-factor, youthful exuberance and unpredictability to Boro’s attack and it won’t be much of a gamble for the Teessiders, given that the youngster showcased his talent and potential in the Premier League last season.
He is still far from the finished article but Middlesbrough would bag a massive coup by bringing him to the club this summer, nevertheless.
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