at the Riverside, as a weekend of paintstaking detective work on Boro's message boards eventually established despite a hurculean cover-up attempt.
The interest of Heerenveen's Eredivisie rivals AZ Alkmaar continues to muddy the waters. A hearing will be held at 7:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to determine the validity of AZ's claim on Alves' signature. Its unclear whether Keith Lamb is flying over with his best Ally McBeal-esque pencil skirt to make an unconventional intervention. Its an enduring image though.
A fee of €18million was apparently agreed between the Dutch clubs and AZ claim that Alves agreed a contract. However, it seems Heerenveen haven't signed anything to confirm the deal. Some reports have suggested that the whole deal was a pre-contract which was invalidated after the January 5th deadline. Its safe to say we never had to bother with these complications signing Jason Euell.
Elsewhere, The Independent was still insisting Lyon's Brazilian striker Fred is destined for the Riverside yesterday morning, despite most other sources insisting he will choose between PSG and Spurs. The Gazette has claimed an official approach for Portsmouth's out-of-favour Matty Taylor. There's barely time to mention the mooted move for Motherwell's young forward Ross McCormack. No, me neither.
The rumour mill is still suggesting Stewart Downing's days at the Boro are numbered. His Mr 10% Ian Elliott released an embarrassingly crude 'come-and-get-me' plea to Tottenham outside St James' Park yesterday. Its unclear whether Downing actually wants a move or a substantial increase to his contract, which still has 2 ½ years to run. Either would explain Elliott's nauseating drivel. Elliott is a Newcastle season ticket holder and also represents Downing's understudy Adam Johnson...
Reports have suggested that Spurs are attempting to chuck cack-handed buffoon Paul Robinson into the deal. Fortunately, it seems Boro have no interest in solving their goalkeeping problems with a reject from a side whose defensive record betters only Reading and Derby.
This has already feels like Boro's busiest January window yet, depsite the only confirmed deal being Andrew Davies making his loan at Southamption permanent. Keeping up with the latest story is like a full time job (which probably explains why I'm barely doing my full time job). Its understandable that Gareth Southgate is already looking forward to February 1st. If the club can pick its way through the January minefield, we might even have something to look forward to beyond then.