Swansea keep trying for £5m Boro pair

25 July 2011 10:16
TONY MOWBRAY has warned Swansea City they risk being told to forget about signing Leroy Lita and Marvin Emnes if they fail to meet the asking price before the start of the new season.

The Swans have identified the two Boro forwards as players they want to add to their ranks before they start a first campaign in the Premier League.

The top-flight newcomers sent their head of recruitment, David Leadbeater, to The Northern Echo Arena on Saturday to cast a further eye over the two players as Middlesbrough lost 4-2 to Darlington.

Leadbeater, who brought Emnes to England from Sparta Rotterdam when he was working at the Riverside in 2008, used the afternoon to further outline Swansea's interest in the duo, but it is believed Middlesbrough are standing firm over a fee.

Mowbray - who is expected to bring Arsenal's 20-year-old striker Rhys Murphy in on trial this week - is more than happy to go in to the new season with both Lita and Emnes in his ranks, with the latter someone he would actually prefer to keep for the longer term.

But if Swansea, who are thought to be looking to buy both for a little more than £3m, lodged a bid of around £5m then Middlesbrough would be forced to seriously consider it knowing their contracts expire next summer.

Maybe their chief scout was here to see how these players did, I would like to think they already know about them, but I don't know what Swansea are thinking, said Mowbray.

I will just have to see how things evolve. What I would say is that the closer to the season we get, the less likely we are to let our players go.

We have always said that there is no fire sale here. The chairman (Steve Gibson) has stated pretty clearly that if there is no deal to be done we won't do it. It's about getting the balance right.

We are working on the finances at this club and we will decide on each deal that is proposed as they come along. At the moment there are no deals for the strikers we have, that have been linked with clubs, that are suitable for us.

Swansea are also keen to bring in Newcastle's Wayne Routledge although wages seem a problem and Burnley's Chris Eagles, but their long standing interest in Emnes and Lita refuses to go away.

If something is to happen, Mowbray could do with it happening this week. He has ideas of who he wants to bring in, but he is not in a position to strengthen his squad until he has raised some money.

After successfully erasing Kris Boyd and Didier Digard's top-flight pay packets from the wage bill, Mowbray is in a stronger position moving forward having only signed Malaury Martin and Curtis Main this summer.

We have not done our business out yet. We are working hard on that every day, so there's nothing to report on the ins, said Mowbray. We have to get the wage bill down to where it is manageable. There will be outs before there are ins. 

We are getting closer to where we need to be. We want to be in a position where we might have some money to buy players. There's a bit to go on that.

Murphy is one of Mowbray's options if he impresses in training. The forward has 12 months remaining on his deal at the Emirates Stadium and is available.  There now also appears to be a stronger chance of seeing Julio Arca back in a Middlesbrough shirt next season.

After spending the summer assessing his options, Arca has returned to the club to train as a free agent to build up his fitness.

There remains tentative interest in him from Wigan and Wolves, but he is set to reopen talks with Middlesbrough this week to see if he can reach an agreement over a new contract that would require him to reduce his pay from last season by more than 50 per cent.

Julio has had a day's training with us. He has just recovered from the knee operation he had. We will see what the future holds for him, said Mowbray.

My stance has never changed. He is a high quality player and if anything I am just surprised that he hasn't signed elsewhere. He knows the situation, where we are and let's wait and see what develops.

Arca was in the stands at The Northern Echo Arena to see Middlesbrough slip to their first defeat of pre-season after an unbeaten tour of Slovenia and Croatia.

Despite goals from Leroy Lita and Tarmo Kink, Darlington ran out 4-2 winners courtesy of goals from Liam Hatch, James Halshaw, Jamie Chandler and Ryan Bowman.

It was a result which highlighted there is plenty of room for improvement, particularly defensively, and Mowbray intends to bring in the likes of Matthew Bates, Scott McDonald and Joe Bennett at Carlisle tomorrow.

Mowbray, who was happy with certain aspects of his side's attacking game, said: We now know that we are still a bit behind where we want to be for an English type of game.

DARLINGTON (4-3-3): Russell; G Taylor, Miller, Lee, Madden (Gray 46); Chandler, Elliot (Rundle 46 (McReady 53)), C Taylor (Ferguson 77); Smith (Campbell 46), Hatch (Wright 66), Walshaw (Bowman  66). Subs: Nixon, Quinn, Bridge-Wilkinson.

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Coyne; McMahon, McManus, Williams, Grounds (Hines 66); Robson (Miller 72), Bailey (Martin 65), Zemmama (Reach 66), Kink (Main 86); Emnes (Williams 66), Lita. Subs: Ripley (gk).

Source: Northern_Echo