After completing an impressive lower-league apprenticeship over the past few seasons, Patrick Bamford is undoubtedly set for his first campaign in the Premier League next year, the only question remains with which side.
If Middlesbrough had managed to clinch promotion, then it’s likely the Chelsea youngster would have returned to the Riverside for another season after shining for Aitor Karanka’s side this term.
Instead, Boro’s pain at their inability to clear the final play-off hurdle could be compounded by seeing the young starlet return to the north-east to play for their great rivals Newcastle United.
The Magpies are reportedly keen on Bamford, and the youngster could be available for just £10m, an absolute snip considering the potential he has shown already in his brief career.
Bamford notched 17 in 30 appearances for the Dons, then seamlessly made the step up to England’s second tier with eight league goals in 21 games for the Rams.
This season the youngster kicked up another gear, firing Boro to fourth place with 17 league strikes and claiming the Championship Player of the Year award.
Newcastle are not the only top-flight side apparently keeping tabs on the Bamford, with local rivals Sunderland also linked with a move for the young striker.
If reports of a £10m price-tag are accurate, the north-east pair will surely be joined by a slew of clubs willing to take a punt on Bamford at that kind of money, with most young English players subject to a far greater mark-up at the moment.
However, Chelsea themselves might yet decide that the 21-year-old is ready to join their first-team squad, as Jose Mourinho is seemingly searching for adequate back-up options for the injury-prone Diego Costa this summer.
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