A problem that Middlesbrough seriously needed to address as Neil Warnock eyes around eight more signings
Middlesbrough had a problem at both ends of the pitch this season.
It spoke volumes that after the final game of the 2020/21 campaign Boro boss Neil Warnock claimed: 'we've finished 10th without having a striker really.'
Of course Boro did have frontmen at the club, yet for whatever reason they weren’t able to deliver.
Warnock has made it clear his priority this summer is to sign an imposing frontman, someone who can register double figures in the scoring charts and give defenders a tough time.
Yet, while Boro appear to have a strong core which will give them a platform to build upon, there was another glaring weakness.
Despite conceding just 8.21 shots per 90 minutes – the third best figure in the Championship according to football database Wyscout – the Teessiders’ goals conceded column of 53 in 46 league games was nothing to write home about.
As Warnock pointed out, there were too many defensive errors which cost his side as they slipped away from the play-off pack.
And while all the blame can’t be pinned on one individual, the fact that goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli finished with the lowest save percentage in the Championship compared to other regular starters was clearly a hindrance.
That is why Boro needed to act fast in the transfer market, and the arrival of Joe Lumley from QPR on a free transfer appears a shrewd piece of business.
Reports from Rangers suggest he’s a keeper with quick reactions and a strong shot stopper – you’d hope that is the case with all goalkeepers, yet some are clearly better than others.
Lumley is only 26 and, despite falling behind Seny Dieng at Rangers this season, he was the No 1 choice during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns.
During his first interview with Boro’s website, Lumley made it clear he wants to be a regular starter next term. You would think he has every chance.
While Bettinelli has departed, fellow stopper Jordan Archer will also be out of contract at the Riverside this summer.
The prospect of trying to find two new goalkeepers, as well as players for other positions was a concerning one, yet Lumley’s arrival eases some anxiety - especially as Warnock has said he wants around eight or nine new players this summer.