Clubs courting Crossley

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A NUMBER of top clubs are waiting to pounce and sign Middlesbrough's Mark Crossley if he fails to agree a new deal at The Riverside.

The former Nottingham Forest keeper, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has as yet failed to agree terms over a new deal after two rounds of talks.

Boro are keen to keep Crossley after his impressive efforts this season when first choice Mark Schwarzer was injured, but he could leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Crossley is thought to be unhappy at losing his place in the side to Schwarzer recently after keeping 10 clean sheets in 20 games.

Bologna are believed to be leading the chase for the Welsh international, according to reports in Italy, and Crossley's agent Ian Elliott admitted that there had been interest in his client.

"We have heard a few things and there is always bits and pieces, but I have never heard Bologna as such being one of the interested clubs," Elliott told planetfootball.com.

"There is a lot of interest from a number of clubs in Mark."

Elliott admitted he is surprised that Middlesbrough have not reached agreement with Crossley over a new deal as he has been in sparkling form for the North East outfit this season.

"We met on Friday for a second meeting on his new deal, but we could not come to agreement over terms," said Elliott.

"Mark will be a free agent in the summer and there has been contacts from clubs and there is always going to be with someone of his quality.

"I am just surprised that Middlesbrough have not tied up his new deal by now."

Bologna striker Julio Cruz is thought to have alerted The Rossoblu to Crossley after he impressed during the recent friendly between Argentina and Wales as he kept out the striker and his team-mates during his first half performance.

The Italian outfit could be on the look-out for a new goalkeeper as their current number one is former Sampdoria ace Gianluca Pagliuca.

Pagliuca is 35 now and could be close to hanging up his gloves, and Bologna would want a quality replacement for the former Italian international.

Elliott admitted the player would have no problem moving to Italy, and Bologna could be favourites for his signature as they are currently fourth in Serie A and in the running for a Champions League place at the end of the season.

"Mark is open to suggestions and anything that comes along," said Elliott.