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By ESPN Staff

Middlesbrough granted work permit for Dong-Gook

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate today completed his first piece of transfer-window business after South Korea striker Lee Dong-Gook was awarded a work permit.

The 27-year-old has signed an 18-month contract after Pohang Steelers handed him a free transfer.

He has now flown back to his own country to complete the formality of obtaining a visa and is expected to be unveiled by Boro next week.

Lee is one of the biggest talents in the Korean game and has scored 22 goals in 64 appearances for his country.

He missed last summer's World Cup finals with a cruciate ligament injury, but has impressed during a trial on Teesside.

Lee sparked something of a controversy in his own country when he joined Pohang Steelers straight from school rather than following the normal pattern of graduating from university before turning professional.

National-team boss Dick Advocaat was expected to use him prominently in Germany before injury struck.

Southgate will be delighted to have added further firepower to his squad, with Mark Viduka and Aiyegbeni Yakubu currently in rich veins of form.

However, since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's summer departure for Charlton, there has been little support for the big two with Massimo Maccarone seemingly on his way back to Italy and Malcolm Christie struggling to regain top form after a succession of injuries.

Lee could be available for the first time for Arsenal's visit to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, March 3.

Meanwhile, Southgate will continue his efforts to re-shape his squad, with Maccarone and Ugo Ehiogu on the verge of completing moves to Siena and Rangers, respectively, while Ray Parlour and Gaizka Mendieta could soon follow them out of the door.

Southgate has expressed an interest in both West Brom midfielder Zoltan Gera and Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere, although progress has been slow with less than a week of the transfer window remaining.