MIDDLESBROUGH have delivered another powerful statement of intent ahead of the new Championship season by shattering their transfer record to sign striker Britt Assombalonga.

Assombalonga completed a £15m move from Nottingham Forest on Monday evening, and is due to take part in his first full training session on Tuesday. He is unlikely to be involved in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly at Mansfield Town, but could make his first Boro appearance in Saturday’s game at Rochdale.

The 24-year-old received permission to travel to Teesside on Monday morning, and underwent a medical at Boro’s Rockliffe Park training ground before finalising personal terms with chief executive Neil Bausor.

Loading article content

His arrival represents a significant coup, with Boro having fought off competition from Premier League sides Burnley and Watford to sign the player who has topped manager Garry Monk’s wanted list from the moment his appointment as manager was confirmed.

Forest rejected Boro’s initial approach at the start of the month, but the Teessiders were always confident they would eventually be able to broker a deal.

They returned with an improved offer at the weekend, and while Forest officials had initially hoped to retain Assombalonga, they eventually concluded they could not turn down Boro’s bid as it met an agreed clause in the striker’s contract.

A Forest statement said: “Middlesbrough FC outbid various other clubs to sign Britt Assombalonga. As a club, we felt that since the fee agreed met the buyout clause in his contract and he wanted to move, it would be wrong to stand in his way.”

The £15m fee is a new club record, exceeding the £12.7m that Boro shelled out to sign Afonso Alves from Heerenveen in 2008.

Talk of a potential £60,000-a-week pay packet is wide of the mark though, with Assombalonga’s earnings understood to fall well within the club’s current wage structure.

“I can’t wait to get started and train with the boys,” said Assombalonga. “I’m glad it’s completed and I can focus on what’s ahead now.

“I can’t wait to meet the manager and get ready for next season. There’s a good feeling around the place. From the minute I walked in, it felt right.”

Born in Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo, Assombalonga moved to London when he was eight months old. He started his career as a youth player at Watford, and spent time on loan at Southend United before joining Peterborough United in 2013.

He became Peterborough’s record signing when he moved to London Road, and within a year, he was moving again to join Nottingham Forest in a deal that was eventually worth £8m.

He scored 30 goals in 69 appearances for Forest, an impressive record given that his time at the City Ground was punctuated by a number of injuries.

The Northern Echo: LINK: Burnley have been linked with a move for Forest striker Britt Assombalonga

A hamstring problem restricted his involvement in the first half of last season, but he still finished the campaign with 14 goals from 20 Championship starts.

“I want to thank the Forest fans for being behind me, especially after my injury,” said Assombalonga. “They gave me a chance in the Championship, and I want to say thanks to them and wish them all the best for the season.”

The £15m deal is Boro’s key piece of summer transfer business, and takes the club’s spending since the end of last season to around £31m following the earlier arrival of Jonny Howson, Cyrus Christie and Martin Braithwaite.

The Teessiders, who have also signed Swansea defender Connor Roberts on a season-long loan, have however raised around £20m as the sale of Jordan Rhodes to Sheffield Wednesday officially falls within the current transfer window.

Their spending might not finish there as they retain an interest in Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo, who could be set to leave Anfield on loan.

There will also be departures in the next few weeks, and Stewart Downing could be the first player through the exit door, having been informed that he does not form part of Monk’s plans for the new campaign.

Downing is due to meet with Harry Redknapp tomorrow, with the Birmingham City boss keen to add some proven Championship experience to his squad.

Redknapp, who has also been linked with Ashley Cole and Robbie Keane, tried to sign Downing when he was manager of Tottenham, and regards the former England international as a potentially valuable asset.

However, Downing has also been the subject of inquiries from Spain, with Malaga, Levante and Espanyol all keen to take him to La Liga.