No need to sell Downing or Woodgate but window leaves Southgate with transfer dilemmas

Last updated at 15:43 09 January 2008

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate may have to fend off advances for some of his current players as he attempts to add numbers to his squad.

The 37-year-old's team of scouts is currently scouring the world looking for reinforcements with a top-class striker among the items on his wish-list.

However, reports today suggested Tottenham are maintaining an interest in England defender Jonathan Woodgate with striker Jermain Defoe touted as a possible makeweight, although sources on Teesside were puzzled by the claims.

Yakubu and Woodgate

With Everton closely monitoring fellow international Stewart Downing's situation and Spurs having also been linked with understudy Adam Johnson Southgate, who insists he does to want to lose any of his current crop, could face some interesting decisions should he be faced with a serious offer.

The former England defender is realistic enough to know every player has his price, having eventually sold striker Ayegbeni Yakubu to Everton in August after the Toffees offered £11.25million for the unsettled Nigerian.

He has been told, however, by chairman Steve Gibson that he does not need to sell to finance any fresh investment. Gibson remains as ambitious as his manager and will be in no mood to sell any of their better players unless is is right for the club.

Indeed, he is ready to back Southgate in the transfer market with a sizeable kitty if he can line up the right targets.

Southgate is continuing to consider a series of options as he looks at strengthening his attacking resources.

Boro's interest in Heerenveen's 26-year-old Brazilian hitman Afonso Alves is long-standing, although his price tag of €20 million (£14.9million) could prove prohibitive.

Whether Defoe remains a possibility is a matter for conjecture but Alves' compatriot Fred is once again in the club's sights.

The Teessiders were linked with the 24-year-old Lyon striker during the summer and, with the South American struggling to command a place with the French champions after injury, are understood to have made an initial enquiry.

They are not alone, however, with Paris St Germain, Tottenham and West Ham also having been linked with a player likely to cost in excess of £10million.

Boro have also been offered 36-year-old Turkey international Hakan Sukur, who had a spell at Blackburn earlier in his career.

Compatriot Tuncay Sanli is belatedly proving a big hit at the Riverside and the prospect of pairing him up with the vastly-experienced Galatasaray man could prove attractive.

However, wages could be a problem even if Southgate decided to opt for what would be a short-term fix.