Alves all set for samba welcome as he signs for Boro at last

Jamie Gardner,Damian Spellman
Thursday 07 February 2008 01:00
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Afonso Alves is pleased to have finally completed his move to Middlesbrough with the club's fans planning a Brazilian-style welcome for him on Teesside.

The 27-year-old received his visa on Tuesday to remove the final piece of red tape and pave the way for Boro's club-record signing to begin work with his new team-mates. He arrived at Durham Tees Valley Airport yesterday with fans planning to greet him with a samba band, carnival girls and a host of Brazilian flags.

"I'm very excited to be here," he said. "Middlesbrough is a good team. I have the option of training this week and hopefully I will be chosen to play on Saturday. I haven't set myself a goal target, I just want to achieve something good for the whole team."

Alves, who signed for Boro just ahead of last Thursday night's transfer deadline, will be officially unveiled at a press conference today, and could then go straight into the squad for Saturday's Premier League visit of Fulham.

Boro are confident that even a last-gasp legal challenge by AZ Alkmaar, who say they had a pre-contract agreement with the then Heerenveen player, cannot affect their ownership.

Boro have been tracking Alves for some time, but finally made their move early in the January transfer window.

Manager Gareth Southgate said: "The only thing that can happen is that AZ could have a claim against Heerenveen and possibly against the player as an individual. We will have to support him through that, but there's nothing that can affect him being registered as our player.

"We have got clearance from the Dutch FA, so as far as they are concerned, that's done – he is registered with us and with the Premier League. Everything else is a sideshow, really."

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