BRITT ASSOMBALONGA is not short of interest following Middlesbrough’s failure to secure promotion this season, with Premier League new-boys Sheffield United one of those set to make a move for his services.

The £15m striker has finished as Boro’s top scorer in each of his two seasons on Teesside and the Riverside Stadium following his record-busting move from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2017.

But the switch has not gone to plan and Middlesbrough’s inability to climb out of the Championship has made him a leading contender to depart the Riverside club before the start of the summer.

There has been a string of teams keen on him in the last year after it became apparent Tony Pulis would be willing to let him go, with Bristol City, Blackburn and Birmingham City among those. Aston Villa and Derby County have also previously been linked.

Sheffield United are also known to have expressed an interest in the past, and now they are armed with more money after securing automatic promotion to the Premier League so will find it easier to match Assombalonga’s wage demands and transfer fee.

The 26-year-old has proven himself to be a goalscorer, having ended his second campaign with 16 goals despite never feeling like he was suited to playing under Pulis and being criticised for missing chances.

He has averaged a goal almost every second start for Middlesbrough in the league and that was the sort of return that made him such a hot prospect at Forest and Peterborough beforehand.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder knows exactly what Assombalonga has to offer and he is already looking at ways to make his side stronger without over-spending in his first pre-season as a top-flight boss. And targeting one of the Championship’s most prolific scorers will be seen as a fantastic alternative to David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp, who were the main scoring contributors during United’s promotion charge.

Middlesbrough appreciate what Assombalonga offers but missing out on a play-off place guarantees they will be operating on a smaller budget next season because they are not due any parachute payments from the Premier League.    By Championship clubs’ standards, the striker is on a hefty wage so Middlesbrough would have to consider offers – particularly if it was up towards the £15m they paid for him a couple of years ago.

It is going to be a huge summer for Middlesbrough, with a number of players facing uncertain futures and a decision still to be made, and confirmed, about Pulis’ position at the club.

The manager was expected to discuss his contract situation with chairman Steve Gibson after Sunday’s final game at Rotherham, but as yet nothing is imminent on that front as to whether there will be a change of approach or if Pulis will get an extension.

Middlesbrough need to plot a way forward and more decisions can be made on the players who could leave this summer, like Assombalonga, after Pulis' fate is determined.

The former Forest forward is under contract, as is Martin Braithwaite who will be due to return to pre-season training for the second summer in a row after a successful loan move.

Braithwaite and Pulis did not see eye to eye in the end so was allowed to leave temporarily and Middlesbrough, regardless of what happens with the manager, are likely to let him go again because of his high wage.

Stewart Downing, John Obi Mikel, Dimi Konstantopoulos and Andy Lonergan are among the others who are not unsure because they are out of contract.