Boro dismiss swap talk
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Middlesbrough have no plans to swap Mark Viduka for Nicky Butt.Middlesbrough have poured cold water on the possibility of Mark Viduka being used as part of a swap deal to bring Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt to The Riverside.
It had been suggested that Boro chief Steve McClaren was keen on bringing Butt to Teesside and was prepared to use Australian striker Viduka as bait.
The reports have come as a surprise to Boro, as they say Viduka is part of McClaren's long-term thinking and have no plans to move for Butt.
"I like Freddy Shepherd and I like speaking to him," Boro chairman Steve Gibson told the Evening Gazette. "But I have not spoken to him about Viduka.
"Middlesbrough have not made an approach to Newcastle United about Nicky Butt and nor do we intend to do so.
"We are building a team at Middlesbrough in the hope of producing the best season in the club's history.
"To lose Mark Viduka would seriously weaken us and we are not prepared to do that."
Butt's future at Newcastle is far from certain, as manager Graeme Souness has brought in Emre, Scott Parker and Lee Clark this summer to complement the likes of Kieron Dyer, Jermaine Jenas, Lee Bowyer and Amdy Faye and there must be some doubt as to whether the former Manchester United man will secure regular playing time this term.
Viduka would appear to be in a similar situation at The Riverside, as the signing of Yakubu Aiyegbeni means the burly Australian's spot alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is far from secure.
Newcastle have a pressing need to bring in new forwards, with only Alan Shearer and Michael Chopra as fit striking options, while Boro's midfield looks a little threadbare, but there would appear to be little chance of a swap deal being thrashed out.
Boro, meanwhile, have confirmed that teenage defender Andrew Taylor will spend next season on loan at Bradford.
Ross Turnbull has followed Taylor through the exit door, with the keeper joining Crewe on loan until the end of the year.