- Akpom’s Departure a blow to ‘Boro: Akpom’s goal-scoring last season, played a pivotal role in Middlesbrough’s push towards the Championship play-offs. Middlesbrough will face the challenge of filling the void left by his departure, both in terms of goal-scoring prowess and on-field leadership.
- Carrick a huge Influence: The majority of Akpom’s goals, 25 out of 29, were achieved under Michael Carrick’s guidance as Middlesbrough surged up the table
- Ajax boost attacking options: The move brings an exciting challenge to Akpom and will bolster Ajax’s attacking options as they look to build on last season’s third place finish.
Dutch football giants Ajax have secured the services of striker Chuba Akpom from Championship side Middlesbrough, in a deal that could reach up to 14.3 million euros (£12.2 million).
Akpom, aged 27, has yet to make an appearance in the current season, but 2022/23 saw him net 29 goals across all competitions for Middlesbrough, making him the leading scorer in the Championship.
Middlesbrough’s promotion hopes hit
Middlesborough were fighting relegation when Michael Carrick took over, however, they rapidly climbed the table to make the play-offs. They were tipped to challenge for promotion this season, but currently sit bottom of the table after two defeats. Akpom’s departure is a further setback. Currently, bet365 have Middlesborough at 11/2 to be promoted, 18/1 to win the title and 25/1 to be relegated.
Akpom praises ‘Boro and Carrick
Last season marked a career high for the former Arsenal forward, amassing a total of 106 goals from 309 senior matches. Expressing his gratitude, Akpom conveyed his appreciation to everyone associated with Middlesbrough. He lauded last season’s memorable moments and expressed enduring pride. Akpom also acknowledged the influence of Middlesbrough boss Carrick, predicting imminent success for the team.
Akpom, who initiated his football journey at Arsenal, went on to make a dozen appearances for the first team after progressing through the youth ranks. However, his time at the Emirates Stadium mainly comprised loan spells at Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Hull, Brighton, and Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden.
During his tenure at Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki, Akpom registered 29 goals across 131 games, clinching both the league championship and cup. He subsequently returned to Middlesbrough on loan following his permanent move.
Carrick appointment key
The turning point in Akpom’s recent performance seemed to be the arrival of Carrick, who replaced Chris Wilder as the manager last season. Carrick’s strategic move to position Akpom in a withdrawn number 10 role led to a significant surge in his performance.
The majority of Akpom’s goals—25 out of his 29—were scored under Carrick’s guidance. This productive period also aided Middlesbrough in reaching the Championship play-offs. However, a knee injury coupled with speculation about his future resulted in Akpom’s absence from the club’s lineup this current season.
New challenge for Akpom
Despite finishing third in the previous Dutch Eredivisie campaign, Ajax remains a formidable force in European football. The signing of Akpom hints at Ajax’s intent to fortify their attacking options by harnessing his adeptness at finding the back of the net.
A new chapter awaits Akpom as he embarks on an exciting challenge with Ajax, one of the world’s most illustrious clubs. The English striker’s journey has been one of growth and transformation, and as he joins Ajax, the football world eagerly anticipates his contributions to the team’s success.