Southgate admits Boro's spending limitations

July 21, 2008

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has admitted he will have to sell if he is to make further signings this summer.

The Teessiders have spent £7.2million during the close season so far in recruiting Marvin Emnes from Sparta Rotterdam and Didier Digard from Paris St Germain.

George Boateng's £1million switch to Hull last week brought in some cash, but as Southgate continues to monitor Reading midfielder James Harper's situation, he knows he may have to be creative to strengthen his squad further.

Both the manager and chairman Steve Gibson have ruled out the sale of start winger Stewart Downing, who has been linked with Liverpool and Aston Villa in recent weeks.

But, asked if he was simply able to buy without looking to sell, Southgate said: 'No, it's not too simplistic. The finance of the club is public knowledge now, the debt has been well publicised.

'But that wasn't something that surprised us, we knew the situation, so I think people can understand the business decisions that have been taken over the last couple of years while I have been in the job.

'I have understood that from very early on in the job and I am comfortable with that. If you know what you have got to spend and what you have to cut back on, then you can plan.

'We have to remember the club has been through the process of building a new stadium and building a new training ground, which is a process other clubs still have to go through.

'Arsenal are in the same position, though obviously they have got a bigger stadium and a bigger fanbase, but they have got to finance things in a similar way.'

However, while Southgate is comfortable with the requirement to balance the books, he knows Gibson will back him when he needs him to, as he did to the tune of a club record £12.7million for Brazilian striker Afonso Alves in January.

The manager said: 'That showed that we still, at the right time, have the backing of a benefactor prepared to help us out, and that's fantastic support.

'We feel generally we should go away from that type of investment although, having said that, if Afonso goes on to score the goals we feel he can score, then he will prove to be a bargain.'