Alves unveiled but Middlesbrough claim transfer not complete

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The Independent Football

Middlesbrough were today insisting Afonso Alves is still their player - for now at least - after Qatari side Al-Sadd unveiled the striker at a press conference.

The 28-year-old Brazilian was pictured on the club's official website wearing an Al-Sadd shirt and scarf amid claims he has signed a three-year contract to end his miserable spell at the Riverside Stadium.

However, Boro are still awaiting the paperwork and therefore maintain that the transfer has not yet been completed.

It is understood the delay is technical and the Teessiders remain hopeful the outstanding issues will be resolved.

Alves arrived at Boro in a club-record £12.7m switch from Heerenveen in January last year but never reproduced his Dutch league goalscoring exploits in English football.

He managed only 10 goals in 42 appearances in the Barclays Premier League, and three more in cup competitions.

He has not figured at all this season after undergoing surgery on a broken foot at the end of the last campaign.

Although the transfer window in Europe closed earlier this week - on Tuesday in England - Al-Sadd have until September 15 to complete their recruitment programme.

They had a bid for the player - understood to amount to around £7million - accepted several weeks ago, although it remained on the table for some time before decisive action was taken.

Alves finally flew out to Doha at the weekend to undergo a medical and open talks, and it appears all that has been concluded successfully, at least from the point of view of the Qataris.

Boro's desire to offload the South American is a reflection of their current financial difficulties - he earns around £50,000 a week and has three years of his contract still to run.

There was anger on Teesside late last month when the club sold defender Robert Huth and striker Tuncay Sanli to Stoke, but Alves' impending departure is unlikely to be greeted by the same level of emotion.