Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has said £15m striker Britt Assombalonga is unlikely to play for him again after admitting the player will leave this summer.
Assombalonga became Boro’s record signing when he made the switch from Nottingham Forest to the Riverside Stadium on a four-year deal in July 2017 under then manager Garry Monk in the wake of relegation from the Premier League.
However, he has managed just 47 goals in 159 appearances since and has not even made the squad for the last two Sky Bet Championship games.
Warnock, who made the frontman his captain earlier this season before a rethink, told the Northern Echo: “Is there an acceptance that he will leave in the summer? Yes, I think that’s been common knowledge for a few months really, from both parties.
“It’s difficult because he’s been my captain. I’m not going to mess him about. It’s not his fault his contract is up and he’s on a good contract.
“I’ve had no problems with him, but I’m not going to take him [to matches] for the sake of taking him to put him on the team-sheet. We’ve got one or two other strikers on the team-sheet.
“I have to respect him as well. I won’t just use him like that. If the others are fit, it’s difficult to see him being involved.”
Bristol City swap deal
Middlesbrough and Bristol City held talks over a possible blockbuster swap deal involving Assombalonga and Famara Diedhiou.
City have a long-standing interest in Assombalonga and they had been readying a summer contract offer.
However, a move was touted in January after it emerged that Boro have a liking for City striker Diedhiou.
Neil Warnock was keen on landing a targetman, and with Chuba Akpom, Duncan Watmore and fit-again Ashley Fletcher, they were willing to let captain Assombalonga leave.
We understand that top-level talks between Boro and City, and swap deal was talked about, however a deal never transpired. Instead the Robins may look to come in again for Assombalonga when he is a free agent this summer.