“He’s not the quickest, he’s not great in the air, he can’t really hold the ball up, but he scores goals”. No, not my version of ‘I can’t dance’ by Genesis, but how I described Patrick Bamford to a Leeds-supporting friend (please don’t judge me, I’ve been exiled here for 14 years and as much as it sickens me, I have tried to coexist with the locals).
Boro are now being heavily linked with Brit Assombalonga following the inevitable lazy links to Leeds Chris Wood.
The bolstering of Boro’s frontline with further firepower seems inevitable, but I can’t help but wonder why? I’ve already expressed my thought on the keeper conundrum, we lack cover at centre back and full back and our wingers are non-existent.
Yet we have a manager likely to play one up front and a trio of top Championship strikers, with Bamford the pick of the bunch.
Bamford scored 19 goals in a Karanka side. Let that sink in. Goals. 19 of them. Karanka. I bet Aitor was secretly furious, “who is this Bamford, ruining my perfect plans to eliminate goals of any kind”. And when it comes to goals, Bamford isn’t fussy; he takes all kinds of them.
— The Good The Bad The Boro ⚽️🔴⚪️ (@GoodBadBoro) May 14, 2017
That sublime spin around the immobile Ipswich defender in the 4-1 victory, the intelligent run and finish onto Lee Tomlin’s through ball at Derby to ensure that it was truly Saint Patrick’s Day, the scrambling of the ball over the line at Man City. Not since the days of Hasselbaink, Viduka and Yakubu have Boro had a striker with such an eye for goal.
So why hasn’t it worked out for Bamford beyond Boro?
My theory is that it is down to the modern manager’s obsession with statistics. It’s all meters run, chances created and heat maps. What it can’t measure is anticipation, instinct, that knack that Bamford has for getting himself in the right place at the right time.
The statistics favour a machine gun forward; Bamford is a sniper, conserving his energy until he swoops with lethal efficiency. Add in his innate confidence, such as when he delivered his demand to Karanka that he plays, and it is a recipe for ostracism “who are you to tell me you should be playing with your stats”.
But it’s not just Bamford. Rudy Gestede is agricultural and the antithesis to Bamford’s elegant style of play.
That said what he lacks in finesse he more than makes up for in raw power, as Boro have found out to their cost in the past. When he’s not hopelessly stranded on the right wing, shuffling around slowly and kicking people in the shins, Stuani has an eye for goal combined with a nasty streak that every team needs.
If only someone will play him centrally.
So Boro fans may welcome the arrival of the raw pace and power of Assombalonga or some other striker but not me.
I’d take Bamford’s grace, anticipation and movement every time. Like many a misguided parent, I think that my baby is the most beautiful and Bamford is my baby.
To the footballing connoisseur, Bamford is a seven-course tasting menu, Assombalonga is an all you can eat buffet.
Bamford is the man to blast us back to the Prem; Monk just needs to show faith in the man rather than the numbers.
Many seem to fancy Bamford this season…
Will Patrick Bamford score 20+ goals for Boro next season?
— The Good The Bad The Boro ⚽️🔴⚪️ (@GoodBadBoro) June 30, 2017
Do you think Patrick Bamford could do the business for Boro this season? Drop a comment below!