MIDDLESBROUGH'S attempts to sign Shay Given until the end of the season look like ending in disappointment after talks with Aston Villa hit a snag.

Boro are trying to set up a new loan deal that would see Given remain at the Riverside until the end of the campaign rather than return to Villa Park next month.

However, that would mean Villa losing the right to recall the Ireland international if they wanted to, and they're reluctant for that to happen.

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If there isn't a new loan arrangement today, then Given will have to return to Villa Park when his existing loan expires on February 28 - and there'll be no chance of Boro extending it beyond that point.