MIDDLESBROUGH will be without striker Lukas Jutkiewicz for the start of the season – but new signing Emmanuel Ledesma insists he can fill the goals void.
The Argentinian netted four times from nine starts for Walsall last season and arrives at the Riverside promising to bring his South American flair to Teesside.
“I’m fast and I enjoy dribbling and like to pass the ball to the central striker to score,” declared Ledesma.
“But I also like to score goals myself. I scored a hat-trick in the League Cup for QPR and now I want to score many more goals for Middlesbrough.
“I’m passionate about football and I love the game. I want to do well for the team, for the club and for the fans.”
Jutkiewicz has had an operation to clean up cartilage tissue and will be out for six to eight weeks.
Ledesma, who this week became Tony Mowbray’s fifth signing of the summer, is a winger by trade but he could be used in an advanced role come next season.
His move to Boro was long since mooted before this week’s completion, and he went on: “The transfer has taken a long time but I’m very happy it’s complete.
“I’m going back to Argentina this weekend because hopefully my baby will be born and I want to be there, but I’ll be back at Middlesbrough for training.
“I’m very happy to be here because it’s a big team and a big club.
“I’ve seen Middlesbrough play, but only on the TV, and I know about some of the great players who’ve been here, like Zenden and Mendieta.”
Another familiar name in the current squad is fellow-Argentine Julio Arca, who has wasted no time taking Ledesma under his wing.
“I hadn’t met Julio before but I can already see he’s a good person and I can also tell that the squad are a good group,” he said.
“Julio is always smiling. He’s my teacher! Having someone who speaks Spanish and English will help me integrate into the squad much more easily and I can tell I’m going to be happy here.”
And Arca added: “When I first came to Sunderland there were people there who spoke Spanish and that really helped me.
“I’ll help him as much as I can off the field – although on the field I won’t be able to help as much! It’s a young squad here and they’re friendly lads, so he’ll be fine.”
Meanwhile, Boro have run the rule over former Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown as possible cover for Jason Steele, who is on Team GB duty.