Middlesbrough are stepping up their bid for Heerenveen striker Afonso Alves.

The Sunday Mirror says Middlesbrough will exploit Liverpool's tightening financial policy by trying to land Dutch Footballer of the Year Alves.

Brazilian striker Alves, who scored 34 goals in 31 games last season in Holland for Heerenveen, has long been in the sights of Rafa Benitez. But the lack of cash for new players in the transfer window means Afonso, at about £10m, will be out of the Anfield manager's reach.

Southgate, however, first sounded out Afonso and his club at the start of this season, has decided the 26-year-old is the right man to help keep Boro up.