Why Middlesbrough would be wise to avoid a move for David Cornell
According to Football Insider (h/t Hartlepool Mail), Middlesbrough have been credited with an interest in shot-stopper David Cornell, who currently plies his trade with Northampton Town in League Two.
Championship promotion-hopefuls Preston North End, as well as League One high-flyers Ipswich Town, are also exploring the possibility of signing the 28-year-old, who is out of contract at Northampton Town next summer, (Football Insider h/t Hartlepool Mail)
Cornell has been an ever-present for Northampton between the sticks in the fourth-tier this term, guiding the Cobblers to 6th place in the standings with his impressive displays in goal. The 28-year-old has conceded 18 goals in 18 league outings for Keith Curle’s side while keeping as an impressive seven clean sheets in the process.
However, with the former Welsh U-21 international out of contract at Northampton Town next summer and talks over a new deal with the Cobblers yet to reach a positive end, several clubs higher up the footballing pyramid have started to line him up as a potential target in the upcoming transfer window.
The Welshman rose through the youth ranks at Swansea City but he only made a solitary first-team appearance for the Swans, and spent time on loan at Hereford United and Portsmouth in League Two, as well as at St. Mirren in the Scottish Premiership before joining Oldham Athletic in League One following his release from the Liberty Stadium.
Cornell moved to Northampton Town in the summer of 2016 and he has been there ever since, clocking up 18 clean sheets in 89 appearances for the Cobblers across all competitions.
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough currently find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the standings in the Championship, just a shade above the relegation zone following a shocking start to the season under Jonathan Woodgate, who took over the reins from Tony Pulis back in the summer.
Boro have won just 3 out of their 19 games in the second tier so far while scoring only 16 and conceding as many as 27 goals in the process.
They have already registered an unimpressive goal difference of -11, and if those numbers are anything to go by, it is a no-brainer that significant reinforcements at both ends of the pitch should be a priority for Woodgate in January.
With that in mind, however, one area where the Teessiders do not appear to be short is the goalkeeping department despite a thigh injury to first-choice goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who is expected to be on the sidelines for the next few weeks heading into the busy festive period.
Academy graduate Aynsley Pears has stepped up to fill in the void left by the injury to Randolph, starting between the sticks in 5 out of the club’s last 7 games in the Championship. The 21-year-old has managed three shut-outs and his exploits have looked all the more impressive given Boro’s overall poor run of form.
Furthermore, Tomas Mejias, who played for Real Madrid earlier in his career, is more than a decent option between the sticks and Woodgate would be well within his rights to call upon the Spaniard’s services should Randolph continue to struggle for fitness during the second half of the campaign.
To put things into perspective, Middlesbrough already have some handy options between the sticks and it is hard to see how someone like David Cornell, who has never played in the Championship before, could possibly be a substantial upgrade on the existing shot-stoppers at the Riverside Stadium.
The 28-year-old deserves plenty of credit for his performances in League Two this term but Boro don’t really need to bring in another goalkeeper in January, particularly with so many gaping holes to fill in other areas of their squad.
Also, the Welshman doesn’t fit the transfer model of bringing in young and developing players put forward by the Teessiders under Woodgate. Hence, if they are really looking at bringing in a new goalkeeper, then they must look to scout the market for a teenager, with a view to grooming him for the future.
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All in all, Middlesbrough’s links with David Cornell doesn’t make sense in footballing terms for a number of reasons and they would be better off concentrating on reinforcing other areas of the squad in a bid to beat the drop in the Championship.