Mendes link means Middlesbrough must look at Portugal supersub

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Middlesbrough to be relegated

Ricardo Quaresma can truly lay claim to the title of most valuable player during the knockout stages of Euro 2016, having scored winning goals twice for Portugal after coming on as substitute and playing a key role in the strike that landed his country their first major trophy.

The former Chelsea and Barcelona man bagged a 117th-minute winner against Croatia in the round of 16, then Portugal’s last quarter-final penalty to see off Poland, before playing the pass prior to the assist for Eder’s historic effort in the 1-0 victory over France.

At 32-years-old and with a failed Premier League audition at Chelsea in his back catalogue, Quaresma doesn’t seem to be attracting the transfer attention he arguably deserves this summer despite a history of hopping from club to club, particularly over the past four years.

Having left Besiktas in December 2012, the winger took in spells with Dubai royalty Al Ahli and Porto, yet is now back in Istanbul’s Vodafone Arena after signing on again 12 months ago – the third time Quaresma has returned to a previous club in his career.

With that trend in mind, new Stamford Bridge chief Antonio Conte may shock us all and make it four by re-signing him, but there’s a much more realistic alternative in the top flight.

Like half of Portugal, it seems, Quaresma is represented by ‘super agent’ Jorge Mendes, along with Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka and new goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Mendes’ links to the Riverside outfit, where he shares ‘official advisor’ status with former Manchester United and Chelsea supremo Peter Kenyon, should give Boro an advantage were they to swoop for Quaresma, with Karanka’s squad currently looking woefully underprepared for the top flight.

Landing Ajax winger Viktor Fischer will help, as would mooted moves for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo and Borussia Dortmund centre-half Neven Subotic, but a wideman of Quaresma’s experience is also badly needed, with his proficiency from the bench a key asset.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Iain Houten

Iain has contributed to a number of websites on a range of subjects for a few years now, without ever really producing anything of note. He occasionally says the odd sensible thing about rugby or politics, and doesn't like writing about tennis