MIDDLESBROUGH have completed their first signing of the summer, with 21-year-old forward Alex Gilbert having joined from Brentford.

Gilbert, who turned down the offer of a new deal with the Bees in order to move to Teesside, has signed a four-year deal at the Riverside and immediately flown out to Boro’s warm-weather training camp on the Algarve to meet up with his new team-mates.

Who is Boro’s new boy – and how has his career developed so far?

Born in Birmingham, Gilbert began his career in West Brom’s academy, joining the Baggies as a nine-year-old. He scored nine goals for West Brom’s Under-18s side, including a successful strike against Boro in an FA Youth Cup tie in 2000.

After turning down the offer of professional terms at the Hawthorns, Gilbert headed to Brentford in September 2020, linking up with the Bees’ B team.

His first-team debut for Brentford came against Middlesbrough in an FA Cup third-round tie in January 2021 which the Bees won 2-1. The game was also notable from a Boro point of view as it saw Hayden Hackney make his first start for the club and Isaiah Jones make his debut as a substitute.

Gilbert played a central role in one of the most notable games in Brentford’s recent history as he was part of the side that lined up Erith Town in a friendly in the last-ever game at Griffin Park. The youngster scored two goals as Brentford claimed a 6-3 win.


Gilbert’s time at Brentford featured a loan spell in the lower leagues with Swindon Town. He made 12 appearances during his time at the County Ground, eight of which came in League Two and four of which came in cup competitions.

He had a hugely successful season with Brentford B last term, scoring 16 goals to help his side become Premier League Cup winners. Eight of his goals came during Brentford B’s successful cup run – one helped knock Boro out of the competition – and he also claimed eight assists as he was named Brentford B’s Player of the Year.

Gilbert qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland because of family links and made his representative debut with Ireland’s Under-19s side. He progressed to the Under-21s ranks, making his debut in a friendly win over Wales in 2021, and now boasts six caps at Under-21 level.