Middlesbrough striker targets: Five potential summer signings based on stats - including Portsmouth and Rotherham men

The one that got away.

By Joe Nicholson
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:06 pm

Last summer, Middlesbrough were chasing Welsh international Kieffer Moore, a player Neil Warock believed was best equipped to lead his side’s attack.

Moore instead opted to sign for Cardiff City, where he scored 20 Championship goals, while Boro were left without a reliable centre forward.

Nearly 12 months later, Warnock is still looking for an imposing frontman who can lead the line and give his side a focal point, and has admitted he wants to sign three new strikers this summer.

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Rotherham striker Michael Smith

We used WyScout to search for players of a similar style to Moore – in terms of his ability to win aerial duels, touches in the box, expected goals and passes in the final third from last season.

Here are some of the names from the Championship and League One who may be realistic targets.

Michael Smith (Rotherham)

It’s been well documented that Smith, who was relegated with Rotherham last term, is on Boro’s radar.

Only Moore won more aerial duels than Smith in the Championship last season, while the latter also chipped in with 10 league goals despite his side’s struggles.

Smith only has a year left on his contract at Rotherham and will surely have multiple admirers.

John Marquis (Portsmouth)

The 29-year-old scored 16 league goals for Portsmouth during the 2020/21 campaign and has proved himself in League One following spells with Pompey and Doncaster.

Albeit in the division below, Marquis’ expected goals total last season was higher than Moore’s (0.52 per 90 minutes compared to 0.44 for the Welshman), yet clearly the Pompey forward wasn’t as prolific.

Marquis only hit the target with 40.2 per cent of his efforts so would hope to improve slightly in that area.

Perhaps a slightly ambitious one considering Dykes is under contract at QPR until 2024, yet he looks like the type of forward Warnock is looking for.

In his first season in the Championship, the 25-year-old showed he can be a real handful for defenders.

Dykes scored 12 league goals and was more accurate than Moore with his shooting, hitting the target 45.5 per cent of the time compared to the Welshman’s 41.5 per cent.

Josh Magennis (Hull)

Another player who impressed in League One last season.

The 30-year-old may not be a long-term replacement but enjoyed his best goalscoring season for Hull last term.

Magennis netted 18 league goals as The Tigers won promotion from the third tier and will now hope to prove himself in the Championship.

Jayden Stockley (Preston)

Following a frustrating first half of the season at Preston – although he was a threat during his side’s 3-0 win over Boro in December - the striker was loaned out to Charlton in January.

The 27-year-old rediscovered his form in South London and scored eight times for The Addicks as they narrowly missed out on a play-off place.

Stockley also has an aerial presence and won 47.8 per cent of his aerial duels while at Charlton.

With a year left on his contract, the player has been linked with a move away from Preston in recent weeks.

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