Five Premier League strikers Middlesbrough should look to sign

Middlesbrough have been linked with many strikers from all over Europe this summer, but should they be looking closer to home?

Five Premier League strikers Middlesbrough should look to sign
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka | Photo: Getty

Since the 1-1 draw with Brighton over two months ago, which saw Middlesbrough regain their Premier League status that they lost almost a decade ago, boss Aitor Karanka has been on a mission to improve the Boro squad to ensure survival for the Teessiders in the top flight.

One department which has come under scrutiny over the summer is up front. Jordan Rhodes was purchased from Blackburn Rovers in January 2016 for £9m, but Karanka seems keen to add to this position with veteran David Nugent being the only other option to play in the number 9 role.

There have been many names linked to come into Middlesbrough to bolster the team's options going forward. well-renowned names such as Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao have been flying around the North East, along with lesser known players such as Khouma Babacar and Jonathas.

One thing these players have in common is that their parent club is situated abroad and they do not currently play in the Premier League.

Could Aitor Karanka and Steve Gibson be missing a trick? Here are five strikers from the Premier League who could do a job for Middlesbrough.

1.) Shane Long

Long (R) celebrates scoring with teammate Dusan Tadic

Long will return to his domestic club, Southampton, after putting in a great performance at Euro 2016. He led the line for Republic of Ireland as they finished third in their group and reached the Round of 16 before being knocked out by hosts and finalists France.

Long also had the best scoring season of his top flight career after netting 10 times last term.

After Southampton's sixth-placed finish earned them a spot in the Europa League and with Saido Mane's departure, new boss Claude Puel will be on the look out for a new striker which could push Long towards the exit door.

One sticking point could be a price tag for Long, as he moved to the Saints from Hull for nearly £12 million and Southampton would want to recoup that money and then some.

2.) Enner Valencia 

Valencia prepares for West Ham's match with Stoke City

The Ecuadorian joined West Ham in 2014 after impressing at the 2014 World Cup. Both he and team mate Diafra Sacko played well under Sam Allardyce,  and the Hammers enjoyed a great start to 2014.

After an injury in preseason for the 2015/16 season and a subsequent injury in November, Valencia featured very little under Slaven Bilic and struggled to keep his place in the side.

Despite Valencia's obvious attributes in his pace and movement, his goalscoring record is not great, with only 8 goals in his career in East London. It seems he would be available with boss Bilic in the market for another forward after West Ham bid for Ligue 1 based strikers Lacazette and Batshuayi

3.)Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez in training with Newcastle United

Middlesbrough have been linked to a few of their rivals players since promotion. Ex-boro player Lee Cattermole who currently plies his trade on Wearside and Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul from Newcastle were previously mentioned as targets for Aitor Karanka, so a move for Perez would not be unheard of.

Perez is similar to Valencia in the way that Perez's best attributes are his movement and his workrate. Perez has been used out wide as well as in the number 10 role by former Magpie's bosses, but has shown his best while upfront.

Perez scored 6 times last season for Newcastle playing is a variety of positions and with Rafa Benitez signing Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace, Perez may be available if fellow Spaniard, Karanka opted to purchase him.

4.) Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin exclaims during one of his 5 Southampton appearances

A second Southampton forward makes his way on to this list.

Austin, however, has only been at St Mary's for 6 months following his £4m move from QPR.

He has failed to make much of an impact on the south coast, but was QPR's stand out players as they were relegated in 2015. Austin scored 18 times during the 2014/15 season and proved that he could perform well for a newly promoted side.

One problem with this transfer would be Austin's reported £80,000 per week wages. Although Middlesbrough will be paying new signing Victor Valdes close to this figure, chairman Steve Gibson might be weary about forking out this kind of money.

5.) Wilfied Bony

Wilfried Bony playing in the rain for Manchester City

Bony is a man who knows how to score goals in the Premier League. The Ivorian netted 26 times in 54 games for Swansea City and this earned him a big money move to Manchester City

After his £28 million pound move, however, he has stuggled to transfer his performances from the Liberty Stadium over to the Etihad Stadium and only found the back of the net 6 times in 18 months on Manchester.

His track record does speak for itself, with his time under Manuel Pellegrini being the only blot on his copybook. His strength, skill and pace are Bony's main attributes and he will be wanting to show these off to new manager Pep Guardiola when he assesses his Manchester City squad.

Wages may also be a stumbling block if this transfer were ever to come to pass as Bony - like most Man City players - will be on £100k + per week and this would mean shaking up Boro's whole wage structure. This is something Gibson is not keen to do.

These problems, however, whether it be on how profilic a player is or the money that they want, will still be there if a player is signed from abroad.

A player of van Persie's calibre will want a bumper wage package if he were to transfer to Teesside, and if a young stiker such as Babacar joined then Karanka would be taking a gamble to see if he would be able to score goals in the English league.

These players have been playing in England for at least a couple of years now and would not need a prolonged period of time to settle in, and especially players like Austin and Long who are counted as 'homegrown.'

Perhaps these are players who could score the goals to ensure Boro's place in the Premier League for the 2017/18 season.