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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Boro on verge of sealing Alves transfer

Middlesbrough hope to tie up a deal to bring Heerenveen striker Afonso Alves to the Premier League ahead of a work permit appeal hearing tomorrow.

Club officials were today hoping to finalise an agreement with the Dutch club for the 26-year-old Brazilian as the January transfer window entered its final few days.

Manager Gareth Southgate yesterday confirmed the club's appeal for a work permit - the initial application was automatically rejected because Alves has not played in 75% of his country's games over the last two years - will be heard tomorrow.

The Teessiders have previously argued successfully for permission to recruit the likes of Alen Boksic and Juninho, but they know too that the process can end in disappointment, as it did when Steve McClaren attempted to land South Africa striker Benni McCarthy.

They have spent the last few days compiling a dossier to back their case for taking Alves to the Riverside Stadium with their protracted pursuit now close to a conclusion.

Boro have had to be patient having renewed their interest in a player who was last week the subject of a Dutch FA ruling that he had not signed a pre-contract agreement with AZ Alkmaar.

That gave the Teessiders the green light to push through a deal which could amount to 12million and smash the club record 8.15million they paid Empoli for Italian international Massimo Maccarone in 2002.

Alves could head for Teesside to undergo a medical within the next 24 hours provided he is granted a work permit, and may even be available for Sunday's Tyne-Tees derby trip to Newcastle.




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