Empoli express Maccarone interest
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Empoli are ready to hand Massimo Maccarone a ticket back to Italy if Middlesbrough decide to temporarily offload the striker.
Maccarone has endured a frustrating season with the Premiership side, having struggled with injuries and been unable to nail down a regular place in the side.
He has hinted that he would be prepared to return to his homeland on a loan basis for the remainder of the season if it would guarantee first-team football.
Middlesbrough are reluctant to part company with the 24-year-old and want him to remain on Teesside.
But, if Boro give an indication they are willing to discuss a deal, Empoli will be at the front of the queue to secure the forward's services.
Maccarone left Empoli to join Boro and current coach Attilio Perotti feels the attacker would be the perfect recruit.
"I wouldn't mind Maccarone," said Perotti. "I hear in England he's not playing a lot and that he would willingly come here.
"He would be a really big strengthening to our squad. With him, after (Jorge) Vargas and (Ighli) Vannucchi, I could be satisfied."
The Italian international notched his first league goal of the season on Saturday against Arsenal and will be hoping it leads to a greater role in Steve McClaren's plans.