Middlesbrough should move for Neal Maupay in January

Middlesbrough’s problems in the final third of the field were once again shown during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Derby County, and the promotion hopefuls should make a move for Brentford’s Neal Maupay when the January transfer window opens for business.

What’s the word, then?

Britt Assombalonga is Boro’s leading scorer in the Championship this season with five, but it would be fair to say that the striker divides opinion.

Jordan Hugill and Rudy Gestede have made 12 Championship appearances between them this term without finding the back of the net, and the latter missed an excellent chance against Derby at the weekend before Tony Pulis’ side scored a late leveller.

Boro are, arguably, an excellent centre-forward away from being favourites for promotion this season.

Tony Pulis’ side, who currently sit third in the Championship, should be in the mix come May, but the right signing in the final third of the field would make a huge difference.

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No player has scored more Championship goals than Neal Maupay this season, and Boro should make a move for the centre-forward at the start of 2019.

Why would Maupay make a difference?

Maupay has 11 goals and four assists in 13 Championship appearances for Brentford this term, which is even more impressive when considering the team’s struggles.

The Bees have lost each of their last three matches, and will actually welcome Boro to Griffin Park towards the end of next month.

Maupay joined Brentford from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2017, and the 22-year-old has scored 24 times for the English club in all competitions.

Valued at £4.5m by Transfermarkt, it is unlikely that Boro would have to break the bank for the Frenchman, and he would make a huge difference to their team.

Maupay’s arrival would also take some of the pressure off the likes of Gestede, who has faced criticism since his return to the team.