Middlesbrough Opinion: Sofiane Alakouch can succeed Ryan Shotton
Sofiane Alakouch is a 20-year-old French youth international right-back who currently plies his trade for Ligue 1 side Nimes Olympique where he has really made a name for himself and is the first-choice starter in his position.
Originally from the city of Nimes, the speedster joined his local club as a young boy before slowly making his way up the ranks at the side.
After he eventually made it into the first-team picture, he has never really looked back as he has now grown into an integral part of both their defensive and attacking aspects of play.
Standing at under 6ft tall, the wingback boasts excellent speed and movement whenever he’s on the ball and his composure when in possession is one of his brightest features. He offers a wide array of attacking options while he is a brilliant crosser as well.
When it comes to defending as well, the youngster does keep his wits about him and is extremely calm when faced with a challenge. Smart enough to not dive into challenges, he has the astute ability to time challenges to perfection – a skill that could be extremely fruitful in the Premier League.
Middlesbrough are a side that have always been in or around the Premier League picture. Having been through some greatly historic years in the English top-flight, Boro are currently fighting it out in the Championship as they look to get back to the heights they believe they deserve to be at.
Currently at 5th place on the league table, with the extremely limited number of games left to play as well, they look set for a spot in the playoffs unless they drop off the pace drastically.
Also, a late push for second place seems improbable because they trail 2nd-placed Sheffield United by 16 points.
Goals have been their biggest concern this season and this is quite evident in their abysmal goalscoring statistics this season. With 37 games of the season already played by Boro, they’ve only managed to score 40 goals.
Their saving grace though has been their stubborn defence, which just refuses to be beaten at times.
However, there is one position of concern for Tony Pulis and that’s the right-back role where Ryan Shotton remains the only recognised option.
While Shotton is 30, the alternative that Pulis has deployed in this position is 21-year-old centre-half Dael Fry and going into a league as adaptive as the English top-flight next season with such a setup could spell trouble for Boro.
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This is why they must make a move for Nimes’ French centre-half Sofiane Alakouch. He has scored one and assisted one from his 21 league games this season and he has shown signs of growing into a massive player.
This is why Tony Pulis must complete what would be a shrewd piece of business in the summer window.