June 13, 2024

Many Middlesbrough players are predicted to have a successful season next year. And Finn Azaz is one man in particular who has the ability to propel his career to new heights.

For the 23-year-old, who will have the opportunity to establish himself as one of the team’s important players, this is actually a crucial season. Ever since they acquired Azaz from Aston Villa at the beginning of the season, Boro has had great expectations for him.

Unfortunately, the attacking midfielder has not always cut the mustard. He needed time to settle in on Teesside and one or two of his efforts were disappointing. Yet the potential quality still shone through on many occasions. If he can grasp the nettle and produce consistency of performance, he will become massive for the team.

He was already pulling up a few trees during his loan spell at Plymouth Argyle last season and scoring goals to boot. In fact, judging by one or two of his displays which I witnessed in TV games, he gave me the impression he was the player who made Argyle tick.

No doubt this initial impact alerted the Boro, who would have sent scouts to watch him on several occasions. This led to the decision to make an offer to Villa to sign Azaz on a permanent contract last January. Argyle must have been gutted to lose him. But Boro offered Azaz the chance to step up another rung on the ladder and this promises to be an astute decision all round.

Finn has shown us examples of what he can do. Now he must push on and produce dominating displays on a regular basis. Azaz is not an out-and-out attacker but he scores goals. His four for Boro, allied to his seven for Plymouth, took him on to double figures for the campaign.

If there is further improvement next season then maybe Azaz should set himself a target of 15 goals for the campaign. As Azaz was beginning to link up very well with Emmanuel Latte Lath towards the end of last season, that’s a mouth-watering prospect.

And as Boro are believed to be in the market for another striker to add to the squad, there’s every reason to believe that they will pack a real punch up front next season. A decision may need to be made whether to play Azaz as a No.10 or operate him from the left, floating inside.

Michael Carrick has overseen the player’s progress at the Boro and sees him every day in training, so there’s little doubt that the boss will know where Azaz is at his most effective.

I wonder if there are any more young gems at Aston Villa. Boro took Cameron Archer and Aaron Ramsey on loan two seasons ago and they performed wonders for the team. Azaz seems to be of similar quality.

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