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Middlesbrough are poised to make a £5m swoop for Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte, according to a report in the Daily Mirror this morning.

The Teesside club have moved for the Portuguese forward ahead of north east rivals Newcastle, whose boss Graeme Souness has been chasing the player since January.

Following Boudewijn Zenden’s decision to defect to Liverpool on a free, McClaren is short of competition for Stewart Downing on the left. Boa Morte’s best performances came on the left of the Fulham midfield – and Boro would be able to offer the Euro 2004 star UEFA Cup football next season.

Boro have made enquiries to Fulham this week over £5m-rated Boa Morte’s availability. But they have yet to meet Fulham boss Chris Coleman’s valuation of the player.

That could force Souness back into action, as the Scot is convinced that Boa Morte has his heart set on moving to St James’ Park.

Despite signing a new contract just seven months ago, Boa Morte has made it clear he wants to move to a bigger club.

Should he leave west London, the Portugal winger would be the third big name to quit Craven Cottage.