Transfer Jan 2008 Window Week 4: Middlesbrough

The endgame is nearing for one of the transfer window's long-running stories as Middlesbrough close in on a club record deal for Heerenveen striker Afonso Alves.

A Dutch FA ruling over a pre-contract agreement with AZ Alkmaar has gone the way that 'Boro wanted it to, leaving them free to negotiate with Heerenveen for the Brazil international.

The deal is likely to go to the wire but should be done by Thursday and would represent a coup for the Teesside club. Alves has scored bundles of goals in the Dutch league and although that is not always a guarantee of success in the Premiership, his call-up for national team duty suggests he is a player of real quality.

Jonathan Woodgate meanwhile is set for an £8m move to Tottenham Hotspur after rejecting the chance to rejoin former club Newcastle United. In contrast to his repeated desire to see Stewart Downing remain at the Riverside Stadium, Gareth Southgate has been fairly ambivalent towards Woodgate's departure.

"He has got a decision to make, whether he wants to be part of what we are doing or whether he wants to move on somewhere else," said the 'Boro boss, aware both of Woodgate's continuing battle against injury problems and the emergence of David Wheater as a replacement, not just for the future but the present as well.

Woodgate's imminent departure also means a repreive for Chris Riggott, who had been linked with a £2m return to Derby County.

Not going anywhere either is Lee Cattermole despite interest from Sheffield United manager Bryan Robson.

Southgate looks set to get his wish over Downing although perhaps more because of Tottenham than the player himself with a friend of Downing's telling The Sun at the weekend: “Stewart is annoyed that everything seems to have fallen through.

“He was up for a move but Tottenham pulled the plug and left him high and dry.

"His head was turned.”

Alves apart, new arrivals are unlikely ahead of the transfer deadline although Brahim Hemdani of Rangers and Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick have also been mentioned as targets.

All Premier League clubs Jan 2008 Transfer Window - Week 1 Round-up
All Premier League clubs Jan 2008 Transfer Window - Week 2 Round-up
All Premier League clubs Jan 2008 Transfer Window - Week 3 Round-up
All Premier League clubs Jan 2008 Transfer Window - Week 4 Round-up

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