Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: CLOCK TICKS OVER ALVES DEAL

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: CLOCK TICKS OVER ALVES DEAL

Article excerpt

Byline: By ERIC PAYLOR

GARETH Southgate remained confident today that Afonso Alves would be a Boro player by midnight - despite a late intervention from Roma.

The Boro boss was in London with chief executive Keith Lamb for this afternoon's work permit appeal, well aware of the interest by the Italian club.

The Evening Gazette understands that Alves has categorically told Boro he has committed himself to coming to Teesside.

The Brazilian striker has agreed personal terms with Boro over the pounds 12m move, though the club have not yet finalised the deal with his club Heerenveen.

Alves had his medicals on Teesside yesterday and then flew back to Holland to complete his personal affairs.

He will return to Boro's training ground at Rockliffe Park tomorrow to start training with his new team-mates - provided the work permit is awarded and the transfer forms are registered with the Football Association before midnight tonight.

Boro were aware yesterday of Roma's intervention and have spoken to both the player and his representatives about the matter.

They are confident that the Italians are not a major threat to Alves joining Boro.

However the transfer deal with Heerenveen was still far from done earlier today.

If and when the work permit is granted, Lamb must then get in contact with Heerenveen's officials again and stay on the phone until the deal is hammered out.

The two clubs are not too far away in the finer details of the transfer agreement, but there are still some sticking points.

Despite Southgate's high hopes on Tuesday, it now looks likely that Alves will not be cleared in time to make his Boro debut at Newcastle on Sunday.

The time involved in processing international clearance always takes several days, and it's more likely his Boro debut will come at home to Fulham on February 9.

Ironically, with the transfer almost done, the Dutch FA's arbitrary commission have ruled that the contract Alves signed with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in December is legal after all.

At the same time the Dutch FA have rubber stamped the fact that Heerenveen officially hold the striker on their books, and so it appears that AZ could be due some sort of compensation - from Alves. …

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