Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has admitted to Teesside Live that he was interested in bringing George Puscas to the Riverside before the Romanian goal machine sealed a £7.5 million move to Championship rivals Reading instead.
It is fair to say the Royals are not the only team who were wowed by Puscas’s barnstorming displays during the U21 European Championships in Italy this summer.
The former Inter Milan youngster scored four times as an unfancied Romania outfit reached the semi-finals, with a clinical brace coming in the thrilling 4-2 defeat to Germany in the last four. With pace, power, the leap of a salmon and lethal finishing, no wonder Andy Hinchcliffe called Puscas a young Alan Shearer on Sky Sports.
Puscas has hit the ground running at Reading with two poacher’s finishes in a 3-0 thrashing of Cardiff City but it all could have been different if Middlesbrough had £7.5 million going spare.
“I actually saw Puscas in the summer watching the Under-21s in Italy in the Euros. I went to the game, England versus Romania, I was watching a few players from Romania,” Woodgate said ahead of Saturday’s clash between Boro and Reading.
“I saw Puscas straight away, he was on loan last year at Palermo from Inter Milan, (he's) a really top player.”
“To bring him here we'd have had to spend a lot of money. We couldn't do that type of deal. Reading have done it, fair play - he's a very very good player.”
Woodgate was given the reigns after the departure of Tony Pulis over the summer in the hope that the former England centre-back could introduce a more attacking, exciting style of football at the Riverside.
But just seven goals in six league games show that there’s still work to be done – signing Puscas certainly would have helped.
Have something to tell us about this article?