Sammy Ameobi: The lowdown on Middlesbrough's newest addition
Wednesday, 30th Jun 2021 13:33 by Phil Spencer
Middlesbrough wrapped up their second signing of the summer after finalising a deal to bring Sammy Ameobi to the Riverside Stadium.
The 29-year-old joins on a free transfer after coming to the end of his contract with Nottingham Forest but brings a wealth of Championship experience with him to Teesside.
So what can supporters expect from the winger next term? We caught up with Nottingham Forest specialist George Harbey to get the lowdown from a Forest perspective.
What kind of player are Middlesbrough getting?
A bundle of unpredictability is how I’d best describe Sammy Ameobi.
Straight away, you look at his stature and he’s a tall, imposing figure which gives him an immediate advantage when it comes to taking on his full-back.
He doesn’t even need to get out of first gear most of the time, and can just breeze past his man with no real difficultly. Ameobi is a player who is effective at picking the ball up from deep and driving forward with it. His end product does leave a lot to be desired sometimes, but he’s undoubtedly a solid performer at this level who very rarely lets you down. Not only that, but off the pitch, he’s a genuinely lovely character who always gives it his all.
Why did Nottingham Forest allow him to leave?
Forest are looking to breathe new life into their attacking options having scored only 37 goals in the Championship last season - Ameobi scoring 3 of those goals.
Brennan Johnson is likely to be a standout performer after an impressive loan spell at Lincoln, and Alex Mighten is expected to keep on improving after a full season in the first team.
The focus is very much on freshening things up and focusing on youth, and approaching the age of 30, Ameobi hardly represents a long-term option. The fact he was only given a new one-year deal last summer says a lot.
Are Forest fans disappointed to see him move on?
The majority are disappointed to see him move on, yes.
Ameobi may not have been a regular starter next season, but there is a feeling that he could have been an effective squad player who could perhaps come on as a substitute and make a difference from the bench.
They only have 3 out-and-out wingers at the moment, and whilst they will sign 1 or 2 this summer, Ameobi could have been a good backup option.
But at 29, would he be happy with that role if there’s an opportunity to start regularly elsewhere?
What is his best position(s)?
Most Forest fans would say down the left-hand side.
In his first season at the City Ground, he formed a solid understanding with Yuri Ribeiro and the pair produced plenty of attacking output. But Ameobi was really effective starting on the right flank last season - driving inside onto his strong left foot and finding the net with some excellent strikes.
If you can play him high and wide on either flank, he will cause damage.
What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses?/b>
First and foremost, as I alluded to before, he’s a really good carrier of the ball, largely because of his physical stature and prowess.
He’s effective when it comes to driving play forward and getting teams out of danger. He also adds a real goal threat from distance. Most of his goals for Forest came from outside the area, so it would be unfair not to mention how good of a strike of the ball he has.
His weakness is perhaps his end product. He registered eight assists in his first season on Trentside, but only chipped in with two last season. His crosses could do with more accuracy, as could his overall consistency.
Can you see him being a success under Neil Warnock?/b>
I think so. Two things Neil Warnock seem to love from his players are honesty and hard work - two things Ameobi brings in abundance.
Add the fact that he’s a tricky winger who is a powerhouse, and you have a classic Warnock signing there. Boro obviously needed to strengthen their wide options, and arguably still do after saying goodbye to Mendez-Laing, Bolasie, Kebano and Johnson, and Ameobi represents an excellent value for money signing.
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