Back

Middlesbrough move for David Nugent shows striker sense

Losing Patrick Bamford, Lee Tomlin and Jelle Vossen had left Coral’s Championship 13/8 promotion joint-favourites Middlesbrough a little short in attack, but that issue has now been addressed by the reported £4m signing of David Nugent from Leicester City.

A player who scored 20 goals to fire the Foxes to the second tier title when he last played at that level, Boro boss Aitor Karanka and Riverside chairman Steve Gibson turned to 30-year-old England cap Nugent after bids of £12m and £14m were rejected by Blackburn Rovers for Jordan Rhodes.

Spending £10m less on a player who has always got into double figures during full seasons in the Championship is further evidence of sound strategy from the Teesside team. Rhodes has youth on side, but Nugent also guarantees goals.

That is why Middlesbrough have handed him a three-year deal to lure him from the East Midlands to the north-east. “It’s good to get it over the line and all of the contracts have been signed,” Nugent told Boro’s official website upon signing.

“I’m officially a Middlesbrough player now and I’m delighted. It’s a club that’s moving forward and just missed out on the Premier League last season in the play-off final. I spoke to the manager and he’s desperate to get in to the Premier League this season, I want to be a part of that and the manager wants me to be a part of that as well.

“I was itching to get here and I’m just delighted to be here. The clubs agreed a fee straight away, both parties are happy with the deal so I’m just pleased to get started and hopefully be involved at the weekend.”

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Preston North End v Middlesbrough - Deepdale

Karanka, who saw his side draw a blank at last term’s League One play-off winners Preston North End in their Championship opener, could not resist a subtle dig at the valuation of previous target Rhodes.

“I am delighted that David has agreed to join us because everyone knows what a good player he is,” Karanka added. “We have worked really hard to bring David to the club and everyone can see that we have not had to spend a crazy amount of money to bring him here. It’s important to get the right players at the right price.

“The good thing is that David wants to join us and believes in our project and this club. I believe we are signing a very good player.”

Middlesbrough are getting a player who, if you include his play-off strikes, is one goal shy of a Championship century, but also knows getting up into the top flight is far from easy.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Leicester City - The Stadium of Light

“I want to be back in the Premier League as quick as possible and I’m sure the rest of the lads do, the manager and the fans, too, ” Nugent continue. “I’m just here to help that and hopefully we can go one step further this time and get automatic promotion.

“I’ve been involved in plenty of play-offs, it’s a tough league and any team can beat another. You’ve just got to be consistent and that should pull you through the hard times and get us promoted. You can’t always look back on what happened the previous season, there will have been a lot of heartache for the players losing that final and there’s no worse feeling.

“I’ve done it myself and it was hard, but you’ve got to pick yourself back up and the lads are confident. Home form is massive in the Championship and if that stays consistent you’ve got a good chance of getting promoted.”

With Nugent now joining attacking options which include fellow ex-England international Stewart Downing and Uruguay forward Christian Stuani, there is every chance Boro will challenge and are 5/1 to lift the Championship title.