Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: 'He's Simply the Best. PAYLOR ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATION SOCCER Pounds 12.7m Alves Signing Shows Gibson's Boro Commitment

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: 'He's Simply the Best. PAYLOR ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATION SOCCER Pounds 12.7m Alves Signing Shows Gibson's Boro Commitment

Article excerpt

Byline: ERIC PAYLOR

YOU couldn't find a better chairman anywhere!

Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to Steve Gibson for bankrolling the pounds 12.7m club-record purchase of Afonso Alves.

The Boro chairman not only gave Southgate assurances that he would find the huge amount of cash to bring in Alves.

But he was also prepared to provide funding for a second plunge on Alves' fellow Brazilians Fred, of Lyon, and CSKA Moscow's Wagner Love, if Boro had been able to pull off deadline-beating deals.

It suggests that Boro will be well placed to further strengthen in the summer.

Southgate said: "I've heard criticism from some quarters aimed at the chairman for allegedly not backing the team, but this proves just how fortunate we are to have a chairman like Steve.

"No way would this deal have been done without his support. As a manager, I'm delighted to have a chairman like him behind me."

Southgate has reiterated his belief that Alves has the qualities to make a massive impact on Teesside.

He said: "He's the Dutch player of the year and he was the top scorer over there last season.

"When you think there's players of the calibre of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the Dutch league and Afonso is out-scoring him, that shows you the measure of his achievements.

"He was very keen to come here, he wants to play in the Premier League and he wants to score goals for Boro."

Hopefully those goals will help Boro claw their way back up the table - though Alves is seen as a long term signing.

Southgate added: "We've got to build piece by piece. We finished 12th last season and this year it's been incredible what we've had to deal with as a club, but we're still 13th and getting stronger.

"Afonso Alves gives us added momentum but it's not just about this season, it's about the long-term. …

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