Transfer Window Week 3: Middlesbrough

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All quiet on the transfer front at the Riverside Stadium as the wheels continue to turn slowly on a potential big-money deal for striker Afonso Alves of Heerenveen.

The Brazilian was the subject this week of a hearing in front of the Dutch FA who, unhelpfully for 'Boro, ruled that Alves has both a valid contract with his current club and also that the pre-contract deal he signed at AZ Alkmaar was also binding.

Lyon forward Fred remains an alternative.

Stewart Downing's future meanwhile continues to be the subject of speculation as he discusses a new contract at the Riverside Stadium.

Everton have reportedly joined Tottenham 'in the chase' for the England wideman although a move to White Hart Lane still looks the most likely if he does leave Teesside, with an exchange deal involving Paul Robinson again being mentioned as a possiblity.

Downing himself is reportedly happy to stay with 'Boro until the end of the season at least and not leave them in the lurch as they aim to stay in the top-flight.

"I will be delirious when it is over and the transfer window has closed," said manager Gareth Southgate at the weekend after again seeing his young side impress in the draw at Blackburn.

"The club will calm down then. The players know who they are with and where they are staying and we can all get on with things."

Highly-rated Motherwell wideman Ross McCormack has held talks over a move to the Riverside which should go through this week despite interest from Wigan Athletic while Charlton Athletic's Jerome Thomas was mentioned in despatches as a target.

"We feel he has a lot of potential," said Southgate of McCormack.

"He's a young lad and, for a long time, we haven't really recruited young players that are able to come in underneath the first team and challenge for a place."


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