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By ESPN Staff

Middlesbrough smash transfer record for Alves

Middlesbrough have finally completed the signing of Brazilian striker Afonso Alves for an undisclosed club-record fee from Dutch side Heerenveen.

Alves, who turned 27 on Wednesday, has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Teesside club after passing a medical and agreeing personal terms earlier this week.

He still requires international clearance from the Dutch football federation (KNVB) before he can make his debut.

Boro manager Gareth Southgate told his club's official website: 'I'm delighted to have completed the deal.

'As usual at this time of the year, it was a late night - but Afonso brings us something different in that he is a goalscorer who does much of his best work inside the box.'

Alves was in the crowd at the Riverside for Tuesday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Wigan, having started the process of undergoing his medical.

His scoring record for Heerenveen was phenomenal, smashing in 45 goals in 38 appearances - including seven in one game earlier this season.

He joined Heerenveen in the summer of 2006 from Swedish side Malmo.

'His goalscoring record - in Holland, in particular, but in Sweden too - has been prolific,' Southgate added.

'We hope he will reproduce that sort of form for us in the Premier League.'

Earlier today, defender Andrew Taylor signed a one-year contract extension to keep him at the Riverside until 2011.

The England Under-21s international is currently out of action, recovering from a foot operation.

Midfielder Josh Walker, 18, has also signed an extension to keep him with Boro until 2009. He has joined Scottish side Aberdeen on loan until the end of the season.

Ben Hutchinson has joined Celtic on a three-and-a-half-year deal, with Boro receiving a compensation fee.