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American forward set to join Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough are set to sign American striker Matthew Hoppe for La Liga club RCD Mallorca. The Teesiders have agreed a fee of around £2.5 million for the 21-year-old and are now waiting for him to receive a work permit so they can complete the deal.

Boro have been searching for strikers all summer after loanees Andraz Sporar and Folarin Balogun returned to their parent clubs at the end of last season. The club signed Marcus Forss from Brentford on the 28th July for £3 million and Hoppe will further strengthen their forward line if the transfer is completed.

Hoppe began his youth career at LA Galaxy in his native country before eventually making his way to German club Schalke in 2019.

He originally joined up with the club’s youth team in the 19/20 season but struggled to find the net. In the U19-Bundesliga West he scored just 3 goals in 19 appearances.

In the 20/21 season, Hoppe would burst in to the first team at Schalke. He made his first appearance in professional football on the 28th November 2020. Unfortunately for him, Schalke were defeated 4-1 away at Borussia Mönchengladbach. From this game onwards he would feature regularly for the club.

He scored his first goal for the club on the 9th January 2021, it came in a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim. Funnily enough, he didn’t only score his goal in professional football and first goal for Schalke in this game, he also scored his first career hat-trick.

The 4-0 was significant for the German club because it ended a 30-game winless run which lasted 358 days. It almost meant that they didn’t equal the record of Tasmania Berlin who suffered a 31-game winless run in the 1965/66 season, their only season in the German top tier before they folded in 1973.

Hoppe would also score in Schalke’s following two matches but he would be on the losing side in both games. His performances in January earned the title of Bundesliga rookie of the month.

The American forward ended the season with 6 goals and 1 assist in 22 Bundesliga appearances. This was a very positive season for Hoppe but not Schalke who were relegated to the second tier of German football.

Hoppe played one game for Schalke in the 21/22 2. Bundesliga season before signing for La Liga club RCD Mallorca at the end of the summer transfer window. Mallorca paid around 3.5 million Euros for his services.

He made his debut for Spanish club in a 0-0 draw at home to Villareal in September 2021. Hoppe would struggle to make an impact in Spain and appearances were hard to come by.

In the 21/22 season, Hoppe only played 7 times for Mallorca and 2 of these appearances came in the Copa del Rey, he also failed to score for the club.

Hoppe has featured for his country on 6 occasions and played a huge part in the USA’s 2021 Gold Cup win. He made his debut for the USA in this tournament and also scored his first international goal. The goal came in the USA’s quarter-final tie against Jamaica, Hoppe’s goals turned out to be the only goal of the game.

He would also play all 120 minutes of the Gold Cup final as the USA beat Mexico 1-0.

Middlesbrough are taking a risk on a player who is unproven in the Championship but his grounding in football is at a higher level so there is hope that he will get to grips with the second tier of English football quickly.

Boro have had an underwhelming start to the new Championship season, drawing 1-1 against West Brom and losing 3-2 at Queens Park Rangers.

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