What a season for Bamford, what next for the striker?
Having joined Chelsea from Nottingham Forest in January of 2012 for a fee believed to be around £1.5 million, Patrick Bamford is yet to start a first team game for the club.
Following a 10 month period at Stamford Bridge, the young forward was loaned out to MK Dons and this was an agreement that continued until January 2014. However, Bamford did not return to Chelsea, instead he was loaned out to Derby County and then in August of the same year, joined Championship side Middlesbrough. This time, Bamford stayed for the whole season and made the Riverside Stadium his home.
Now, at the age of just 21, the Englishman is playing at his fifth club and has delivered the goods for every team he has played for. A look back at Bamford's record at MK Dons, shows a strike rate of just under a goal per game and this season, for promotion chasing Middlesbrough, the forward has managed 17 league goals, in only 32 starts, in addition to creating 28 chances for his team-mates. Bamford's performances for Middlesbrough, have taken the team to the play-off final and also earned him the honour of the Football League Championship Player of the Year Award.
However, Bamford has been nursing an ankle injury of late and missed out on Middlesbrough's fantastic 3-0 play-off semi-final win over Brentford. With Jelle Vossen and Kike waiting in the wings, should Bamford fail to make it in time for the play-off final, there appears to be adequate cover in place. That being said, no other player in the Middlesbrough squad can bring to the team what Bamford does and he will be a huge miss, if he fails to recover in time for Wembley. The ability to catch teams on the counter-attack, cutting inside and out, plus a tremendous finisher, with left foot and head, Bamford has the qualities of a player that can make the difference in the play-off final.
In terms of next season, it's unclear what the future holds. Bamford has spoken about his desire to make it as a Premier League striker at Chelsea and with Didier Drogba leaving the club in the summer, there is currently a place up for grabs in his favoured position. Rumours are circulating, that with just one more season left on his current deal at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has offered him a chance to compete for a first team place with a new five year contract. Bamford has chosen to concentrate on the end of the season and up-coming European Under 21 Championship and says he will discuss his future when he returns from Czech Republic.
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Bamford certainly has the ability to take Middlesbrough in to the Premier League at Wembley. However, with Chelsea seemingly keen to extend his deal and the likes of Everton and Aston Villa circling if he does not, even if Middlesbrough make the Premier League, it's doubtful Bamford will be there with them.