Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Free to Finalise Deal with Hoyte; Transfer Fee Is Agreed - Lamb

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Free to Finalise Deal with Hoyte; Transfer Fee Is Agreed - Lamb

Article excerpt

MIDDLESBROUGH have confirmed their offer for defender Justin Hoyte has been accepted by Arsenal.

Boro revealed on Tuesday they had submitted a bid for the 23-year-old rightback, who would be a replacement for new Aston Villa recruit Luke Young.

Chief executive Keith Lamb said last night: "We have agreed a fee with Arsenal and we have now been given permission to speak to Justin, which we will be doing in the next 24-48 hours."

Hoyte joined Arsenal as an 11-year-old and made his first-team debut as a substitute against Southampton in 2003.

However, he failed to establish himself as a first-choice pick for Arsene Wenger and joined Sunderland on loan for the 2005-06 season.

Hoyte then returned to the Gunners and provided injury cover the next season, becoming the first Englishman to score for Arsenal at the new Emirates Stadium against Charlton in January 2007. Last summer Hoyte was linked with Villa but Wenger announced he would not be sold and would compete with Bacary Sagna for the right-back spot.

The defender, who has also made 18 appearances for England Under-21s, was an unused substitute in last night's Champions League qualifier against FC Twente. Young moved to Villa Park last week, a year after joining Boro from Charlton.

Hoyte's signature would be a timely boost to Boro as they prepare to face what looks likely to be a Tottenham side without Dimitar Berbatov on the opening day of the Premiership season.

Berbatov's proposed move is expected to enter a crucial stage following suggestions other clubs in Europe besides Manchester United are interested in the striker.

United are working on a deal for Berbatov and Spurs' belief that Barcelona are also monitoring the 27-year-old could move negotiations along on the eve of the Premier League season.

At the moment, there has been no announcement of a fee being agreed between Spurs and United, and Berbatov has been training in London.

The Bulgaria striker has told officials he wants to leave White Hart Lane and is thought to be just one of the targets United are looking at, with a bid turned down for Valencia's David Silva earlier this week, according to the Spain midfielder's agent. …

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