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Middlesbrough boss to make signing Chelsea striker 'number one priority' for January

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From the heights of Championship Player of the Year to the lows of wilting away on the Crystal Palace bench (and often not even that), Patrick Bamford's last few months have mirrored Chelsea's precipitous drop in fortunes.

Everyone was quite excited to see Bamford find a temporary home in the Premier League after proving himself in the lower divisions in previous loan spells.  Alas, his time under Alan Pardew has not worked out at all.  It's tough to blame the Palace manager; his job is to win, not to develop our player and with his team sitting sixth (!), whatever decisions he's making and whichever players he's picking, he's doing quite alright.

So, Bamford, unsurprisingly and despite his words about not giving up and such, will probably look for a new temporary home in January.  One obvious option is Boro, where Mourinho's former assistant Aitor Karanka has apparently made the striker his "number one target" for January.

Aitor Karanka will make re-signing Patrick Bamford his number one priority for next month’s transfer window, with the striker set to trigger a release clause in his loan deal with Crystal Palace.

-source: Northern Echo

While the step down would be a bit disappointing, playing in the Championship is better than not playing in the Premier League, which would also be his likely fate if he returned to Chelsea as a third or fourth option at striker.

Boro and Bamford made a wonderful combination last season, coming to within a playoff final of achieving promotion.  They Teessiders are back on the Premier League trail again this season, currently lying in second place with the division's best goal differential.  However, they're apparently a bit thin at forward, with only the veteran David Nugent scoring (somewhat) consistently and could thus use reinforcement.

Sounds like a great option for all involved.