According to BBC Radio Bristol (h/t Teesside Gazette), Bristol City legend-turned-pundit, Gary Owers, has urged the Robins to reignite their interest in Middlesbrough hitman Britt Assombalonga ahead of the mid-season trading period.
The Robins are in the market for a new striker in January, following a long-term cruciate ligament injury to Stoke City loanee Benik Afobe back in September. They have also been heavily linked with a move for Arsenal academy prospect Eddie Nketiah (h/t Teesside Gazette).
That, however, would depend on whether the Gunners are prepared to terminate the youngster’s existing loan agreement at Leeds United, where he is yet to start a single game in the Championship.
While Bristol City have confirmed that they will explore the possibility of securing a loan deal for Nketiah in January if the opportunity arises, Owers has suggested that the Robins should instead make a renewed attempt to sign Britt Assombalonga (h/t Teesside Live).
The Robins currently sit 5th in the Championship standings, following a 5-2 drubbing of Huddersfield Town last week and they must strengthen their position in the top-six when they travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Saturday.
A tally of 31 goals in 19 games suggests that the Robins are right up there with their promotion rivals in terms of attacking firepower but Lee Johnson doesn’t have a lot of depth in his options up top.
Famara Diedhiou (4) and Andreas Weimann (7) continue to be the go-to options for Johnson. While both players offer a lot more in terms of their overall contribution, the Robins are still lacking a 20-goal-a-season striker to spearhead their surge for promotion.
Garry Owers’ suggestion certainly makes sense and Bristol City would do their promotion hopes a world of good if they listen to him and complete a move for Britt Assombalonga in January.
Assombalonga has scored only 6 goals in 19 appearances for Middlesbrough this term but it would be unfair to judge his pedigree based on those numbers, given that the Teessiders have largely underwhelmed.
The 26-year-old, who has registered double figures in each of his last three seasons in the Championship, is a powerful centre-forward in the right age bracket.
Bristol City fell agonizingly short of a playoff spot the last term but things could be a lot different in the promotion race this time around if Assombalonga comes through the door in January.
Niclas Eliasson, Weimann and Diedhiou are all good attacking players with a wide variety of attributes in their locker but City need someone to bang in the goals during the second half of the season. That is exactly where a proven goalscorer like Assombalonga could make a massive difference.
Given that Boro are struggling to hold on to their Championship status and aren’t really in the promotion mix at the moment, the time seems right for the Robins to make an enquiry about the 26-year-old’s services in January.
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All in all, Bristol City should pay heed to Owers’ words of wisdom and make a renewed attempt to sign the Congolese star in January.
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