Gareth Southgate hoping make an early breakthrough

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate was today hoping to make an early breakthrough in the transfer market in the summer after midfielder Didier Digard french arrived on Teesside.

The 21-year-old Paris St Germain player, which is valued at around £ 4million, was understood to be subject to a medical this afternoon before the opening of talks with the Premier League club.

Southgate had already confirmed its interest in a player who, near the top of its list of targets midfielder.

He said: "Didier is someone that we were watching and he is someone that we have done an investigation. He is a player who has defined the qualities and he is someone we are interested, but at this stage of the summer, it is difficult to go further.

But a major difference between Didier and many other players is that the signs seem to indicate that his club are willing to sell him.

"This puts him in a position slightly different from some other players that we could have been the research."

Southgate has not hidden the fact that his priority this summer is a midfielder.

Fabio Rochemback and Gaizka Mendieta have already left the club, and although 18 years, Nathan Porritt yesterday signed his first professional contract, George Boateng the situation remains uncertain, while rumours persist that Gary O'Neil could also leave after only one season.

Boro have been linked to a series of goals with Chelsea's Steve Sidwell high Southgate on the wish list and Newcastle James Milner, reading James Harper Michael Bradley and Heerenveen also included.

However, the Teessiders do not want to be dragged into a bidding war on Sidwell, although they have received little encouragement in their search for Milner, who is also attracting interest from Liverpool.

Speculation has also suggested Portsmouth's Sean Davis is in Southgate curiosities, but it is understood that it is not.

The former England defender has spent much of last summer reshuffle his frontline after losing both Mark Viduka and Yakubu Ayegbeni.

Having seen the head Yakubu Everton for two weeks after the start of the new campaign with little time to replace the Boro boss is determined to do its business in early summer if possible.

He said: "As a manager, the ideal scenario is that you've got the players to begin pre-season.

"When we return on July 7 to begin training, we would like all players that we could sit them down and explain exactly how we will work this year.

"This would give everyone the longer possible to work together during pre-season. If we could do it, it would be a big plus."

However, as he prepares to dive into the summer market for the third time in his young career management, Southgate is realistic about his chances to make an early impact underway with the finals of Euro 2008, which complicates matters further.

Southgate said: "If you look across the league, it was only a couple of high-profile signatures. With championships underway in Europe and with it still being early summer, it takes time for deals to occur.

"We are very active and we are trying to get in a situation where we have put in bids with other clubs.

"We know exactly the positions that we want to try to strengthen and types of players we want to bring in.

"But these things take a little time."

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