Football: Middlesbrough keen on shopping in Milan

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The Independent Online
MIDDLESBROUGH HAVE confirmed that they are on the trail of the Milan players, Christian Ziege and Leonardo.

Boro have been linked with the German and Brazilian for weeks and their manager, Bryan Robson, has admitted that he has made inquiries. The Teessiders are hopeful that there could be some movement within the next fortnight.

"We have had preliminary discussions about both Ziege and Leonardo coming to Middlesbrough," said the club's chief executive, Keith Lamb. "So far, Milan have not dismissed our interest.

"We have yet to speak to either player but Christian knows of our interest. We anticipate further discussions but it's a little bit premature to say the deal will be wrapped up in the next two days."

Robson has never been afraid to set his sights on high profile players, but he has denied claims that he is set to break the bank to get the men he wants. The former England captain reacted angrily to claims that he was prepared to pay Leonardo pounds 60,000 a week to move to the Riverside Stadium. "People are just putting whatever figure they want on players," he said. "I haven't even spoken to Leonardo on personal terms.

"He's a top class player and if there are top class players about and they're at a reasonable price, then we're in for them."

The Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, has confirmed his interest in Sunderland's Scottish international winger Allan Johnston. Johnston has refused to sign a new contract at Sunderland and their manager, Peter Reid, believes the 28-year-old has been unsettled by the Glasgow club.

"Allan Johnston is the type of player I would like to have here at Rangers," Advocaat said.

"We're monitoring the situation closely. I like the way he plays - he's my type of player."

Brian Kidd, the Blackburn Rovers manager, is awaiting medical tests on Darren Peacock. The centre-half has had an undiagnosed virus that has affected his breathing and the club are keen to find out the nature of the problem.

The defender felt chest pains in Blackburn's tour of Scandinavia. He had to come off in one game and could not even get through the warm-up in another.

Blackburn are keen on Sheffield Wednesday's Brazilian Emerson Thome, who is valued at around pounds 3m.

Brazil beat Germany 4-0 in the opening game of the Confederations Cup in Guadalajara on Saturday with all the goals coming in the second-half.

In front of a capacity crowd of 70,000 Brazil exploded into life after the break, scoring twice through second-half substitute Alex and a goal apiece from Ze Roberto, one of five survivors from last Sunday's 3-0 triumph over Uruguay in the Copa America final, and teenager Ronaldinho.

Playing in their second Confederations Cup, the United States sealed a 2-1 victory over newcomers New Zealand with goals from Brian McBride and Jovan Kirovski.

The next Group B games will be played on Wednesday.

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