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Middlesbrough boss Southgate: I expected Yakubu to leave

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate admits he's been resigned for some time to selling striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni.

The Nigeria international was wrapping up a £11.25 million move to Everton yesterday and Southgate said: "Once we got to the start of the season, I guess I did, but if people don't want to stay, you have to decide is that a situation you feel you can turn around, and then is there a fee you find acceptable as a club in order that they can move on?

"We feel at this moment in time that his head had been turned by the possibility of moving on, and I can understand that.

"He is a young lad, he wants to go and do different things and experience different things, and I then felt it was the best thing for us to get the best fee we possibly could.

"I have got a lot of time for him. He is a lovely lad. In the end, his head was turned and it looks as though he will be moving on.

"But he was a big player for us, especially last season for me. In the early part of the season, his goals kept us in matches and won us lots of games, and I wish him good luck.

"I do not think there is an ounce of malice in his body. He is a really lovely kid and I hope things work out for him as he hopes."

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Tribal Football Staff

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