Boro stars not for sale
By Amanda Cornforth
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate insists he does not have to sell his top players in order to bring in fresh blood during the summer.
Boro head into Saturday's Premiership clash with Wigan still in need of a point to secure their top flight status for next season and after a below-par campaign Southgate is already turning his attentions to rebuilding his squad.
Speculation has mounted that Fenerbahce could be about to make a move for striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni but Southgate is quick to dismiss the reports and confirm that he will not be parting company with his leading players.
"It is the first I have heard about it. It is not something I am aware of," he said.
"As far as I am concerned, despite the recent run he has had, he is our top goalscorer and we are not in a rush to lose players of that importance.
"I am under no pressure to sell players, that's for sure, and from my point of view, that is a great position to be in.
"Obviously, as we did with Franck Queudrue earlier in the year, if you get an offer you think is something you should take it as a club, then that decision has to be made.
"But we are not looking to move any of our better players on, that's for sure."
Southgate is still keen to get Mark Viduka to commit his future to the club.
The 31-year-old Australian is out of contract at the end of the season and has been subject to interest from other teams.
Southgate added: "I have been speaking to Mark again this week and understandably, the longer it goes towards the end of the season, he has more options available to him.
"That is always the risk you run when players are in the last few weeks of their contract.
"But he knows my feelings on it and we still hope to persuade him to stay here."
Meanwhile, 20-year-old full-back Andrew Taylor will undergo surgery on a persistent toe problem within the next fortnight.
As a result, Taylor will miss England's European U21 Championship campaign in Holland next month.