Middlesbrough chief admits Mido interest

August 10, 2007

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has admitted he has joined the chase to sign Tottenham striker Mido - while stressing that Aiyegbeni Yakubu is going nowhere.

Southgate is keen to add Spurs' Egyptian striker Mido to his squad, but as a potential partner for Yakubu rather than a replacement.

Everton are believed to be ready to pay £10million for Nigerian striker Yakubu, but Southgate has made it clear he is trying to expand his squad rather than reduce it.

Boro have entered the chase for Mido at a late stage, but have already received permission to talk to the 24-year-old, who is surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane following the arrival of Darren Bent from Charlton.

It means Boro have matched the £6million offers from Barclays Premier League rivals Birmingham and Sunderland, both of whom are also keen to add Mido to their squad.

Southgate confirmed: 'Yes we have made our interest in Mido known to Tottenham. Now we are awaiting developments.'

The Boro boss has turned his attentions to Mido after missing out on England international Alan Smith, who completed a move from Manchester United to Newcastle last week.

Southgate wants to bring in another striker before the end of the month to provide extra competition for Yakubu, new signing Jeremie Aliadiere, and the South Korea international Dong-Gook Lee.

There have been many reports throughout the summer suggesting Boro might be prepared to complete a deal for Yakubu to move on from the Riverside, leading to interest from his former club Portsmouth, Manchester City, West Ham, and now Everton.

But Southgate stressed that there was no way he was prepared to allow Yakubu to leave.

He said: 'Yakubu is a good player, and he is our player. He is not somebody I intend to let go.

'He has been very good in the last couple of weeks in particular, which indicates to me that he is ready for the start of the season.

'I have spoken to Yakubu lately. He is well, he is happy and he is very settled with us.

'I am not welcoming any offers for him, particularly so close to the start of the season.'

Yakubu, who was a £7.5million signing from Portsmouth two years ago, still has three years remaining on his contract on Teesside.

The Boro manager has denied a report that Yakubu has handed in a transfer, while adding: 'We have not had a single bid for Yakubu all summer.

'I understand that there has been some contact with Everton at a higher level, but we have made it clear we are not letting him go.'

The Nigerian will be leading the Boro attack in their opening game against Blackburn on Saturday, probably alongside Aliadiere.