Rochemback linked with return to Lisbon

December 13, 2006

Middlesbrough midfielder Fabio Rochemback could be on his way back to Sporting Lisbon.

Boro boss Gareth Southgate is currently considering his options as he attempts to open the way for squad strengthening during the January transfer window.

However, with cash at a premium, he knows he will have to reduce both the size of his squad and the wage bill if he is to recruit his targets.

It would be no surprise if there were several departures next month, and with Sporting Lisbon understood to be interested in taking back their former player on loan, Rochemback could return to the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

The 25-year-old Brazilian has proved surplus to requirements in recent weeks - he has not been involved any of the last four games - as Southgate has tried to find the right formula to drag his side up the Premiership table.

While no-one on Teesside doubts his talent, he has struggled at times to impose himself in the high-tempo English game, and the feeling is that if the two clubs can agree a deal, he will be allowed to leave.

Rochemback arrived at Boro in a £2.5million switch from Sporting during the summer of last year, and picked up a second successive UEFA Cup runners-up medal last season.

The South American is not the only man whose days at the club could be numbered with Ugo Ehiogu, Gaizka Mendieta, Massimo Maccarone and Ray Parlour among those rated as dispensable.

Ehiogu is currently on loan at Leeds and should the Yorkshire club seek a permanent deal, Boro would not stand in his way.