Done Deals Daily #5
Boro add pizazz with Azaz, Travis to the Tractor Boys, Charlton move for two, and much more.
Welcome to Done Deals Daily #5.
There was yet more managerial movement yesterday with Plymouth Argyle appointing Ian Foster and Luke Williams leaving Notts County and taking up the reigns at Swansea City. There were more transfers too – lots more – and you need not Luke any further (sorry) for insights into the lot.
There’ll be no DDD tomorrow, so we’ll catch up on Monday. Have a great weekend, and go well!
Finn Azaz (W/AM) - [Aston Villa - Middlesbrough] £2.5m
A wonderfully talented attacking midfielder with an eye for the sublime and the ridiculous, Azaz has maybe been the key player for Plymouth Argyle in a memorable 18-month loan spell from Aston Villa.
His final goal in green was the best, executing the dictionary definition of a cushioned volley in New Year’s Day’s 3-3 draw with Watford, but it’s just the latest in what is a long list of strikes that make you swoon.
His 14 league goals from under 8xG tell a story. But there shouldn’t be too many worries from Boro fans about unsustainability because Azaz just has the ball-striking prowess to suggest that his highlights reel is only in its infancy.
He’s more than just a scorer of worldies, though. Azaz offers the vision and technical ability to create both from deep and in the final third, normally from a left-sided midfielder berth in a three for Argyle. The 23-year-old leads the Championship for key passes from open play this season.
Boro’s new signing isn’t the most athletic player, which could provide something of a ceiling for him, but he is still very comfortable carrying the ball through the thirds and makes up for his lack of pace with his work rate out of possession.
He is likely to be used more often as a no.10 given Michael Carrick’s use of 4-2-3-1, providing an alternative to Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks, although his arrival would also permit a switch to 4-3-3. It’s undeniably exciting to add Azaz’s composure and vision to a team with such an attacking mentality.
There are Villa fans who had hoped he would force his way into the first-team reckoning next season, so for Boro to pick him up mid-season for just £2.5m looks a steal, and sets a high early bar for January deals in the Championship.
RATING: LOVE IT
Bojan Radulović (CF) - [HJK Helsinki - Huddersfield] - Undisclosed