Middlesbrough: Transfer Window Week 2

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Big-money moves for strikers were back on the agenda at Middlesbrough in the second week of the window with Afonso Alves, Lyon frontman Fred and Jermaine Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur linked with the club.

Heerenveen's Alves looks the most likely incomer but his future is currently clouded in uncertainty. AZ Alkmaar are claiming a deal but the player's agent has been quoted as saying he has no intention of joining them. A tribunal in the Netherlands on Wednesday is set to shed more light on the current situation.

"It's speculation, simple," said manager Gareth Southgate of the latest transfer talk.

"There is interest always in good players, but we have enquiries throughout the year and there has been nothing firmer than that," he said. There is nothing that has been anything out of the ordinary, in my opinion."

Cristiano Lucarelli is another name in the frame. The Italian international is currently with Shakhtar Donetsk but the prospect of wintering in the Ukraine with no Champions League football has focused his mind on a loan move, preferably back to Serie A although the price tag of 1.4m for the rest of the season has scared off the likes of Genoa and Parma.

The Riverside Stadium has also been mentioned as possible destination for veteran Turkish forward Hakan Sukur who has announced that he will leave Galatasary at the end of the current campaign.

Late on Sunday night, Sky Sports reported that an 8m bid had come in from Tottenham for their long-time target Stewart Downing. The winger has been in talks over a new contract with Middlesbrough but after many years of being linked with a move to White Hart Lane this could finally be the time.

Just hours before, the newspapers had speculated on a move in the opposite direction for deposed Spurs' number one Paul Robinson.

George Boateng's future is no longer the subject of any gossip. The skipper marked his return to the side after a fall-out with boss Southgate by scoring against Liverpool on Saturday, a game that again highlighted some of the fine young talent that has been produced at the club's Rockliffe Park training HQ in recent years.

One player who is definitely leaving though is centre-half Andrew Davies. After some initial doubt, his loan move to Southampton has been turned into a permanent deal.


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