Will Lankshear scout report as Middlesbrough consider loan move for Tottenham striker

Middlesbrough have been credited with interest in Will Lankshear of Tottenham Hotspur
Middlesbrough have been credited with interest in Will Lankshear of Tottenham Hotspur -Credit:Getty Images

Will Lankshear is the first striker to be linked with a move to Middlesbrough this summer, with Boro keen to strengthen Michael Carrick's forward options ahead of the new season. We take a closer look at the 19-year-old and what he might offer.

What we know so far

A report this week claimed that Boro were pushing to sign Lankshear on loan this season. However, while true that Boro have scouted him, Teesside Live understands they're not yet in a position where they've decided whether or not they will make a move.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough notebook with Tottenham striker linked as St Mirren set Hemming transfer stance

Lankshear was identified as part of Boro's scouting of top club's academies - something they do to ensure they're aware of any potential future talents who may either move away from top clubs or become available for loan. As such, the 19-year-old striker does feature on the list of their potential striker options this summer.

However, with the transfer market not even open yet, Boro are not yet ready to make any moves for a striker with immediate priorities elsewhere. Instead, they are prepared to be patient in the striker market as they assess exactly who could be available to them this summer and at what price.

Career experience to date

Brought up in St Albans, Hertfordshire, Lankshear started in the academy of Arsenal before leaving to join Sheffield United on scholarship terms in February 2021. In his first year with the Blades he captained them to the under-18 Professional Development League Division 2 title, scoring 38 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions that season.

That prompted interest from Tottenham who are said to have paid a fee of around £1 million, potentially rising to £2.5m, to bring him back to North London in August 2022. Though he missed much of the second half of his first season through injury, he still managed nine goals before taking his game to another level this term.

Across Premier League 2, play-offs, Premier League Cup and EFL Trophy games, the striker netted a magnificent 29 goals in 33 games to prove his goalscoring prowess. Called up for England under-19s, he's scored three goals in five games for them also.

As well as winning the Premier League 2 golden boot this season, he has been nominated for multiple Player of the Month awards, winning it in January after scoring five goals in two games. Earlier in the season, he also scored a hat-trick in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup against Fleetwood Town. Taking just 11 minutes to complete it in total, it is the fastest hat-trick scored to date at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

What's he like?

The first thing you notice about Lankshear when watching him is his physical attributes. Playing against under-21 defenders, the 19-year-old already looks well developed at 6ft2in and with a broad and muscular frame. It's something Spurs correspondent Alasdair Gold, from our sister site Football London, picked up on when watching him earlier in the season.

Gold said on a podcast: “He’s a very talented young player, he’s got a long way to go, but he’s got a little bit of the [Harry] Kane physique about him. He’s got a lovely touch and a lovely finish."

Indeed, when watching highlights of his many goals this season, his finishing ability is the thing to note. An instinctive finisher, he's scored a variety of goals to prove that prowess in front of goal, showing instinctive movement in and around the penalty area to get into the right areas to score goals.

Blog SuperHotSpur wrote a feature on the goalscorer earlier in the season having kept a close eye on his development and noted 'excellent and intelligent off the ball movement'. While not necessarily blessed with raw pace, similar to Kane, he is 'creative in his runs off of defenders' and 'his strength and ability to shrug off defenders and hold-up/shield the ball, is also very impressive'. He was said to be a tireless runner who is always on the move, making him a nightmare for defenders.

Merit of a move

Lankshear is contracted to Tottenham until 2025 and at this stage, while there is reported interest on the continent of a permanent move, Spurs seem to be only considering a loan move. While Boro's preference is on permanent signings, they have proven themselves to be flexible enough in their desired approach when they see fit in each individual scenario.

What we know is that Boro want a centre-forward this summer, feeling they'd like to add an extra option to the squad after both Emmanuel Latte Lath and Josh Coburn had injury troubles this term. Lankshear would appeal in that he brings something a little different to the existing Boro duo.

While a permanent striker would usually be the preference, given the fees strikers usually command, and the fact both Latte Lath and Coburn are players with plenty of years ahead of them, there is merit in a loan move, with Boro also boasting young strikers such as Sonny Finch and, should they ward off interest from elsewhere this summer, Ajay Matthews, who can both develop into first-team strikers in the years ahead.

What we don't know at this stage is which other strikers Boro's recruitment team have identified for this summer. That will ultimately be what proves key to whether Lankshear is the man they pursue or not.

If there is an affordable striker they can sign permanently this summer, then it's more likely they favour that over a loan move for a young striker with no senior experience who they're, at this stage, unlikely to land beyond the season-long loan.

However, with a desire to add quality in midfield and the forward areas while also working hard to securing the permanent signing of Luke Ayling, if signing another striker permanently would severely deplete their financial resources, then there's a high chance they do strongly consider a Lankshear loan deal in order to prioritise the areas in their squad where they feel they really need to strengthen, particularly with the longer term in mind.