Roma eye Boro skipper

Italians consider Pogatetz move

Pogatetz: Roma interest

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Emanuel Pogatetz's agent claims that Italian giants Roma are keen to sign the Middlesbrough captain.

The Austria international has already stated that he would be willing to stay on at the Riverside to help the club back to the top flight.

But with just one year left on his current deal, a move could be on the cards this summer.

Jurgen Werner has now claimed that he has met with Roma, who are keen on the 26-year-old.

"We had talks with a Roma delegation last week in Karnten," his agent told Kronen Zeitung.

But a deal is not imminent as Pogatetz is getting over a knee operation, although he will be fit for the start of the new season.

"Roma want to wait for him to recover," he added.

"It is understandable that they don't want to buy an injured player."

Bates hope

Meanwhile, Boro boss Gareth Southgate remains hopeful that he can persuade Matthew Bates to remain with the club.

West Ham have already made Bates, who is out of contract in the summer, an offer to leave, while Wigan, Everton and Sunderland are also keeping tabs on the 22-year-old.

But Southgate is still hopeful, saying: "One of my priorities is trying to get Matthew to re-sign for the club.

"In fact, if we can convince him to stay, I would see him as a key signing.

"He has got the right drive, mentality and attitude, the sort of qualities that I want my players to have, plus the football he played for us during the final weeks of the season was enough to make me feel he can have a real impact for us next season.

"He overcame some serious injuries and the time he has spent out of the game seems to have made him hungry to make up for lost time and do well.

"I've been impressed with him and I'd like him to stay here.

"I've had some good discussions with Matthew and with his agent and I think he would like to stay if everything felt right.

"I know he wants to be a leader wherever he plays his football and I think he can fulfil that desire with us. He certainly has excellent leadership qualities.

"Of course he'd like to play Premier League football - and rightly so - but he would also like to help us get back to the Premier League.

"I think ideally he'd like to stay, but I'm not taking anything for granted at this stage."