Bokšic to bow out at Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough FC are set to release Croatian striker Alen Bokšic before his contract expires.

Official request
The 33-year-old has issued an official request to the English Premiership club asking to be allowed to leave the Riverside Stadium before his contract runs out on 30 June, and Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb seems happy to grant Bokšic his freedom.

'I don't see a problem'
"I think over the weekend we will make a decision but I would think that we will grant Alen's wishes and release him from his contract," said Lamb, whose club bought two strikers, Michael Ricketts from Bolton Wanderers FC and Malcolm Christie from Derby County FC, during the transfer window. "In view of our recent acquisition of strikers I don't see a problem."

Wage bill
Bokšic is one of the highest paid players in the Premiership, having joined from S.S. Lazio for €4m in August 2000. The Croatian international's release would ease Middlesbrough's wage bill but Lamb said finance was not a factor. "It's not a consideration," he said. "It's Alen's request. We are considering it. He has acted in a reasonable way and I'm sure we will give him a reasonable response. But it is not about money.

'A very nice man'
"Alen is a very nice man and has scored some important goals for the football club," he added. "Everyone at the club wishes Alen well in the future whatever he chooses to pursue. We will part good friends."

Injury problems
Bokšic was Middlesbrough's top scorer in his first two seasons at the club but has been hampered by injuries. The former Olympique de Marseille and Juventus FC forward scored twice in 19 appearances for Middlesbrough this term, his last goal coming in the 3-1 home win against Manchester United FC on 26 December.