Britt Assombalonga has been linked with a shock move to Celtic, amongst others, in the last few days. But, speaking to the Northern Echo after the Middlesbrough striker’s hat-trick sealed a pre-season victory against Salford United, manager Jonathan Woodgate has made it clear that he’s not for sale.
One of the most disappointing aspects of Tony Pulis’s Riverside reign was his inability to get the best out of arguably the Championship’s most naturally-gifted goalscorer.
Assombalonga was simply born to hit the back of the net, although he managed to do so just 14 times last season as Middlesbrough missed out on a place in the play-offs.
And with Boro cashing in on some of their biggest earners this summer, speculation has been rife about the future of their £15 million record signing. The Northern Echo claimed last week that Celtic, Cardiff City, Sheffield United and Fulham were among the interested parties.
But after Assombalonga put Salford to the sword in a ruthless performance in front of goal, Woodgate could hardly have made his stance any clearer.
“Britt Assombalonga is a Middlesbrough player for the future - and now,” Woodgate said of his hat-trick hero.
“Britt will score you goals wherever he plays. His record shows it. If he gets an arm round him, gets that confidence he will score goals. He's a fantastic lad and I like him as a lad as well.”
Middlesbrough would want to recoup every penny of that £15 million investment if they did decide to sell, however, and that fee is likely to be a little rich for a Celtic side who have spent big on Christopher Jullien and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo already this summer.
But that does not change the fact that Celtic are a little short on strikers with the new season looming large. There is plenty of pressure on the returning Leigh Griffiths to prove that he’s still got it.
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