Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate admitted that he had watched Reading striker George Puscas this summer but did not venture to try and sign him.
Woodgate told Teesside Live that he saw the 23-year-old in action at the European Under-21 Championship in June for Romania, for whom he scored in a 4-2 win over England.
However, the Middlesbrough manager conceded that the club did not have the funds to try and sign the player, as per Teesside Live, with Puscas instead completing a £7.5m move from Inter to Reading in August, as reported by The Sun.
Woodgate will have another chance to see Puscas up close this Saturday when Middlesbrough welcome Reading to the Riverside Stadium as the Championship resumes following the international break.
He has averaged 3.4 shots per game since signing for the Royals, but has a passing rate of 67.4% and has not won any aerial duels despite being 6 ft 3 in (1.88m) tall. [via WhoScored.com]
His three-goal haul is the same as that of Middlesbrough’s current top scorer Britt Assombalonga and one more than Ashley Fletcher, with Paddy McNair, Marc Bola and Lewis Wing the only other ‘Boro players to have scored so far this season. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Assombalonga’s three goals have come in seven appearances and 584 minutes of game time, an average of one goal every 194.67 minutes.
Fletcher has scored twice in seven matches and 560 minutes on the field, with one goal every 280 minutes. Fellow Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede has failed to find the net from 70 minutes of action so far in 2019/20.
None of Woodgate’s strikers have had more shots per game than Puscas, Assombalonga the next best with a match average of 2.7, although unlike the Reading marksman, Assombalonga and Fletcher offer a strong presence in the air, winning 3.8 and 2.8 aerial duels per game respectively. [via WhoScored.com]
Middlesbrough have scored only nine goals in their first seven matches this season, and three of those came in the opening day draw at Luton.
That strike rate is unlikely to instil any great fear in opposition defences, and with Puscas boasting a better goals-per-minute ratio than any of the ‘Boro strikers, perhaps the club should have tried to pursue his signature.
They were happy to pay £7m for Aden Flint last year, according to Bristol Live, so £7.5m for Puscas could have been a calculated gamble worth taking – especially if he finds the net at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
Middlesbrough fans, do you think Puscas is one that got away given Woodgate’s admission? Let us know your views by commenting below!
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