MIDDLESBROUGH have warned they won't be held to ransom by European champions Real Madrid in pursuit of a permanent deal for Geremi.

Real's director of sport Jorge Valdano insisted this week that Boro had been quoted a fee of around £9.6m for the 24-year-old Cameroon star.

Northern Echo Sport understands that Real are likely to accept an offer nearer £6m.

Nevertheless, Boro insist they will baulk at paying over the odds if Real decide to hold out for the top asking price.

Manager Steve McClaren is eager to secure a deal for Geremi, who has been a major success during his season-long loan at the Riverside.

Boro have first refusal to make the agreement concrete, and assistant boss Bill Beswick said: "The manager has made it clear that he would like Geremi to stay.

"But I think the club now approach these things in a sensible manner and that it will not be at any cost. It will be at what is a reasonable price for his services.''

Geremi, who is also attracting interest from Liverpool, is Boro's joint-leading scorer with seven goals, and Beswick added: "He has done well for us and we would like him to continue here.

"We very much hope that's the case. He has definitely made an impact. He has played every minute of every League game and his statistics are excellent.

"He is well liked by the players and the fans and alongside Jonathan Greening and George Boateng, he forms part of quite a formidable midfield trio.''

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