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Middlesbrough boss Southgate has no Alves concerns

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate insists striker Afonso Alves will not be distracted from the fight for Premier League survival by a £5.9million cash wrangle.

The 27-year-old Brazilian was back in Holland this week as AZ Alkmaar continued their battle for compensation after losing out on his signature.

It emerged on Wednesday that they are claiming £5.9million from the player despite the Dutch FA's ruling that they did not have a pre-contract agreement with him when Boro made their move in January.

The Teessiders, who paid Heerenveen a club record £12.7million for the South American, greeted the news by advising AZ to take up their argument with Heerenveen rather than Alves.

However, with the long-running saga set to continue at an arbitration hearing on May 19, Southgate is confident his striker's mind is fully focused on his club's mission to claim the points they need to end their relegation fears at home to Portsmouth on Saturday.

Southgate said: "I only know what I have read. I was aware he was going for part of this court case this week.

"He is very relaxed about it. It doesn't entail our club, really, but we are there to support Afonso if he needs it.

"But he is very calm about it. He doesn't feel there is anything to answer.

"The Dutch FA gave their verdict on it before he came to us, so it's an unfortunate side-show, but not something that he seems too perturbed by."

Asked if he feared the court proceedings would affect Alves on Saturday, Southgate replied: "Not from what I have seen, no."

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Tribal Football Staff

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