Middlesbrough plan talks with Man Utd's Smith

Middlesbrough plan to hold talks with Manchester United striker Alan Smith in the coming days.

Boro face competition from Everton and Aston Villa among possible others and chief executive Keith Lamb said: "Our position hasn't changed.

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"If you go back a few weeks it was well documented that we had agreed a fee with Manchester United for his transfer and were given permission to talk to Alan.

"Unfortunately Alan was away on holiday and when he came back he went straight off on tour with Manchester United, so we haven't had the opportunity to speak to Alan.

"But I'm sure that he is well aware of our interest and I'm sure that in the next few days the opportunity to speak to Alan will present itself.

"And if it's right for Alan and if it's right for Middlesbrough, then I'm sure that it's something that we might well conclude, you never know."

Smith, 26, faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford, with first-team chances appearing limited, especially if Sir Alex Ferguson can tie up the complex transfer of Carlos Tevez from West Ham.

Boro boss Gareth Southgate is also keeping his fingers crossed that Smith will agree to enter the next chapter of his career at the Riverside.

He added: "It's a situation that we are monitoring very closely.

"It's apparent that his future at Manchester United isn't certain and he falls into the category of being a quality player and a good character.

"That is of course someone that would interest us.

"I think the situation is that he understandably wants to stay and fight for a place at Manchester United.

"Nothing else entered his mind over the last couple of weeks.

"Now it would appear that that situation is changing by the day, so if he wants to move on obviously the mindset changes."

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