Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

End in Sight for Mendieta

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

End in Sight for Mendieta

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Spanish midfielder Gaizka Mendieta can leave the Boro - as Gareth Southgate prepares to instigate a major January overhaul of his squad.

Mendieta is the first of a handful of players who are likely to be allowed to leave during the transfer window.

Southgate wants to streamline his squad, and bring in one or two new additions before the window closes.

But players may have to depart from the Riverside before new signings can be introduced, and any potential financial savings from Mendieta's salary will make a big difference to Southgate's options.

The manager said: "At his age, I am sure Mendi will want regular first team football and I can not guarantee that.

"There will be a few clubs alerted to the fact he's not getting a place here and we'll see what happens."

Mendieta has started only three Premiership games for Boro this season, though in all of them he was substituted.

It has been clear for some time that the 32-year-old does not figure in Southgate's plans and a parting of the ways at this stage makes sense.

Mendieta has been on Teesside for more than three years after joining from Lazio on a free transfer.

He initially arrived on loan, but a lucrative four-contract followed at the end of his first full season.

Mendieta made an immediate impact with Boro, but the former Spanish international has been dogged by injuries over the past two years.

He worked very hard to get himself fit after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury two seasons ago, and then broke his foot in training towards the end of last season.

Ironically news of his potential departure comes in the week where Boro are building up to entertain Manchester United.

Gaizka's brilliant performance and his two-goal salvo against the Red Devils last season was one of his finest moments at the club.

Mendieta has been linked with a move back to Spain, and in particular his home town club Athletic Bilbao.

Several other Spanish clubs are likely to show interest, though the key could be the percentage of Mendieta's salary that Boro are prepared to pay in the future to allow him to move on. …

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