Akpom was on the brink of exiting Middlesbrough, but the tide turned in his favour, and he has become one of the top players in the Championship at the moment
Akpom was one of the worst players at Middlesbrough after his transfer from PAOK Salonika in 2020. The Nigerian forward registered five goals in 39 appearances for Boro in his first season, failing to impress the fans and the club’s hierarchy.
He eventually went on a season-long loan at his former club PAOK, but he could not get back to his best. Akpom was a serious candidate to leave the club as his transfer was looking like a bad decision for the club. However, they were unable to offload him.
It eventually paid off for Middlesbrough because Akpom hit his stride last season. The 27-year-old was the best player in the Championship last season. He hauled in 28 goals and two assists for Boro to win the Golden Boot.
Akpom’s transformation was phenomenal and almost unbelievable, but Morsy believes it was always going to happen because of his resilience and hardwork.
“I don’t think anyone would have imagined all the goals that Akpom scored last season, Morsy told Second Tier Podcast per Gazette Live.
“What I would say is that straight away you could see in training that he had real quality. With his back to goal, he was jinky, right foot, left foot, he just looked really good.
“Straight away when I saw him I was thinking, ‘Okay then, what can you do?’
“But I remember the first time Warnock signed him, the first day he got us all in a huddle and he said, ‘Bloody hell Chuba, you were my third-choice signing. I tried to get Kieffer Moore, I tried to get [James] Collins, and now I’ve ended up with you!’
“He told him he was a bit smaller than he thought he was as well, so I think Chuba was a bit like, ‘What’s going on here?’
“I’ve seen Chubes say things along the lines of Michael Carrick has unlocked something in him. Sometimes it does take that.
“He has real quality, he’s a real good guy and I think always a test of someone is when it’s not going well for you. The club treated him in a certain way, trying to get rid of him, making him train on his own, etc.
“But, in my time and then to the best of my knowledge since then, he’s behaved in an immaculate way.
“He kept his head down, kept working, never sulked, always trained hard, and then he’s got his rewards. It’s a massive testament to him really and his levels of professionalism because of how hard he’s had to work to achieve what he did.
“Last season he just kept scoring every week. Different goals as well – right foot, left foot, headers. It was a phenomenal season for him.”
Following his brilliance last season, there have been talks that Akpom could exit Middlesbrough. However, nothing concrete has emerged from those talks.