What next for Dylan Bahamboula? Middlesbrough weigh up move for Oldham Athletic midfielder after impressive cameo at Bishop Auckland
Middlesbrough handed a start to trialist Dylan Bahamboula against Bishop Auckland in the Teessiders’ first pre-season friendly of the summer – but what next for the Oldham midfielder?
The 26-year-old started training with Boro last week after Oldham manager Keith Curle who worked as part of Neil Warnock’s backroom staff at Crystal Palace and QPR, recommended the player to his former boss.
It’s been claimed that Bahamboula, who scored six goals and provided eight assists in League Two last season, would cost around £150,000, though it’s thought that would include clauses which could increase the fee.
Encouraging cameo at Bishop Auckland
Bahamboula played the first 45 minutes against Bishop Auckland, operating on the right in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Congolese midfielder also played as an attacking midfielder last season, which explains his tendency to drift inside and try to link up play.
Bahamboula looked bright against the Northern League side, though, and was keen to get on the ball to take players on.
His runs infield opened up space on the right for full-back Anfernee Dijksteel to get forward, which Warnock encouraged, though the defender was a little hesitant to join in with attacks.
What did Warnock say about Bahamboula?
Boro will now head to Cornwall for a week-long training camp, which will include three friendly matches.
Warnock was coy about whether Bahamboula would be joining the squad in the South West, or if the player will feature again in pre-season.
“He’s done alright Dylan,” said Warnock after the match. “I said to Keith I’d have a look at him and give him my opinion, and I’ll be speaking to him in the next couple of days, Keith.”
When asked if we’ll be seeing Bahamboula again in pre-season, Warnock replied: “You’ll just have to wait and see. As I said I’ll be speaking to him in the next few days and then we’ll see.”
What’s Oldham’s stance on the player?
Curle believes Bahamboula should be playing at a higher level after joining the Latics from Bulgarian side Tsarsko Selo last summer.
"Neil's had conversations with people that represent Dylan, singing his praises, saying what he's about,” said Curle last week.
"I spoke to Neil, Ronnie Jepson and Kevin Blackwell - all of his backroom staff - and they've asked that, in my opinion, can he play Championship football?
"I've said 'you can have a look for a week - make your own decision, make your mind up'.
"In my opinion Dylan's got abilities that will be suited at a higher level."
Where would he fit in at Boro?
Boro do have plenty of options in central midfield, with Sam Morsy and Jonny Howson able to play in the holding role.
The Teessiders are also hopeful Martin Payero, who can play as a No 10 or box-to-box midfielder, will complete his move to the club, while Paddy McNair is also likely to be a regular starter.
Marcus Tavernier has predominantly been used in a central position by Warnock too, yet there is still a lack of natural wide players in the squad.
If Bahamboula does sign for Boro, it’s likely he’ll be competing for a place on the flanks, along with the likes of new signing Sammy Ameobi and Duncan Watmore.