Boro line up Romanian raid

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MIDDLESBROUGH are closing in on Romanian star Paul Codrea as can exclusively break news of the hush-hush transfer.

Although Steve McClaren's side, beaten at home for the first time in the league this season by Aston Villa on Tuesday, are trying to wrap up a double deal for Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott, the Boro boss is still keen on bolstering his midfield.

A bid to sign Leeds United's Seth Johnson collapsed, even though the player was fit enough to come on as a substitute during his side's defeat at Chelsea, and highly-rated Genoa star Codrea is the top alternative.

"I would love to go and play in The Premiership," enthused the 21-year-old.

"I am not afraid of the tough nature of the tackles because I am also a fighter, and English football is something that would attract anybody.

"There are a lot of many great players and so many strong teams.

"But, for me, it will be wonderful to have the opportunity to play for Middlesbrough.

"Not only because it seems to be a team with good potential but, because I am confident, that going to them, I will have a good opportunity to win my place in the first team.

"For me, the first thing was always to play, and then the money aspect.

"So Middlesbrough will be the perfect team for me to make a good impression in England.

"I like their stadiums as they are so close to the pitch. I like the atmosphere.

"It is also nice in Italy, but I believe that there is not so much pressure on the players in England, like there is in Italy.

"I will say 'yes' to a move to Boro, knowing also that they have a lot of quality players like Croatian striker Alen Boksic and also the very young, but very great talent, Massimo Maccarone.

"The problem is only to see that the English side are coming to Genoa to open the talks, and hoping it will be fine.

"Because I am sick to read every day that Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen or another club wants Codrea, but nothing is moving."

If Boro cannnot seal a deal with Genoa, who are in financial trouble having not paid their players for several months, they will renew their interest in the summer.