Boro-Boateng link gathers pace

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MIDDLESBROUGH are believed to have sent a delegation to Athens on Wednesday in an attempt to secure the signature of African starlet Derek Boateng.

Reports in Greece and England have reported that chief executive Keith Lamb and first team coach Steve Round were both in the Greek capital to watch a friendly between Panathinaikos and Copenhagen.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw and their main reason for being there was Boateng - who played the full 90 minutes.

The 19-year-old has been constantly linked with England over the past few weeks and now it seems the North East outfit are ready to press home their interest with a firm offer.

A bid of ‚é¼10 million (£6 million) is being touted, as negotiations were believed to have been held between Pana president Aggelos Phillipides and Lamb.

Planetfootball revealed last month that the Ghanaian starlet was desperate for a move to England.

"Every day I dream of playing in England," said Boateng.

"In England, the pace is fast, the players are strong and a lot more intelligent now. That is where I wish to play."

Boateng only has 18 months to run on his contract and despite Pana's reluctance to sell they do not want to risk losing him for nothing when his current deal expires.

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has seemingly loosened the purse strings at The Riverside, as Boro are also looking to conclude the £6 million signing of Leicester's Muzzy Izzet this week.

Boro boss Steve McClaren is due to hold talks with Izzet on Thursday, after his coaching stint with the England squad.