Lens, Ajax and Sheffield United keen on another Middlesbrough talented man

MIDDLESBROUGH are set to host a three-way battle for Chuba Akpom with Lens, Ajax and Sheffield United all interested in signing the forward.

Lens reportedly had an initial £8m offer rejected for Akpom yesterday, but that is merely set to be the start of what could turn out to be a ferocious tussle for the 27-year-old, who has entered the final year of his current contract at the Riverside.

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Ajax and Sheffield United are both believed to be preparing formal offers for Akpom, who looks increasingly unlikely to still be a Boro player by the time the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

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While Boro officials have held talks with Akpom’s representatives over a potential new deal, an agreement has so far proved elusive. That has encouraged outside parties to step up their interest in last season’s Championship Player of the Year, with Boro now at the stage where formal offers are beginning to arrive.


Lens are keen to take Akpom to Ligue 1 as they look to replace last season’s leading scorer, Lois Openda, who recently joined German club RB Leipzig for around £40m.


The sale of Openda means Lens have money to spend as they prepare for a season in the Champions League following last season’s second-placed finish behind Paris St Germain.

The prospect of appearing in Europe’s premier competition would make obvious appeal to Akpom, who was playing in the Greek league with PAOK Salonika prior to rejoining Middlesbrough and making such a positive impact in the Championship last season.

Sheffield United have are also lining up Akpom as a potential replacement for a departed forward, with Iliman Ndiaye having joined Marseille earlier this month for a reported fee of around £20m.


The Blades are ready to invest some of that sum in Ndiaye’s replacement, with Akpom understood to be the number one choice of their manager, Paul Heckingbottom, but are reluctant to go much above the £8m that was quoted in relation to Lens’ interest yesterday.


That unlikely to be a high enough figure to persuade Boro to do a deal, although the Blades will hope that the prospect of remaining in England and playing in the Premier League is a sufficient enough lure to persuade Akpom to push for a move to Bramall Lane.


Ajax are the third club understood to be preparing a formal offer with their technical director, Sven Mislintat, having first-hand experience of working with Akpom from the pair’s time at Arsenal.


Ajax currently only have one senior striker in their squad – 21-year-old Brian Brobbey – and are looking to recruit a player capable of playing as either a number nine or number ten.


Akpom boasts experience in both roles, and is regarded as an appealing option within the Ajax hierarchy because of his contractual situation on Teesside.

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