Middlesbrough in partnership with Brazilian outfit Ituano

Championship Middlesbrough have formed an official link-up with Brazilian side Ituano - where Teesside legend Juninho is president.

As part of the deal, Boro have already agreed to take 19-year-old pair Marcos Rhoden and Rafael Peireira on-loan until the end of the season.

Juninho will also act as Boro's scouting presence in South America.

"Because of the connection with Juninho it's something we think could be a benefit, as we don't have an existing presence in South America and have no scouts there at all," Boro boss Tony Mowbray told the club's website.

"If there are players there with European passports who meet our budget and criteria, why would we not utilise that connection with Juninho's club? Hopefully it will bear fruit over the years."

Mowbray stressed that nobody should expect too much from the link-up in the near future.

"Juninho's football club aren't going to give us the next Neymar - if they had the next Neymar, he'd be costing someone 20, 30 or 40 million," he said.

"They're not going to let two young players come to us if they were going to help them win their league or win some games.

"They are a couple of young players who are not impacting on their team who they think have the right personality to come here and develop.

"The chairman's talked to them about where we are financially and if they did have the next Neymar, I'm pretty sure he would be going to Manchester United."

 
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