Middlesbrough closing on deal for Afonso Alves

Middlesbrough are closing in on a deal for Heerenveen striker Afonso Alves.

The 26-year-old South American was on Teesside on Sunday and was shown around the Riverside Stadium as Boro tried to persuade him his future lies in England.

It is understood talks progressed to such a stage that they believe they can get their man, who is a Brazil international.

However, the fee remains a problem with the Teessiders not prepared to meet the £14.9million valuation the Dutch media claim his club has placed on him.

Manager Gareth Southgate has been promised chairman Steve Gibson's backing in the transfer market, but Boro have been at pains to stress in recent years that they must balance the books and will not pay inflated transfer fees or wages.

They will continue to work to reach a compromise with Heerenveen, but with AZ Alkmaar insisting they have a pre-contract agreement with the player, there could be some way still to go.

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