Bryan Robson yesterday stepped up his efforts to end Juninho's nightmare at Atletico Madrid.

The Middlesbrough boss revealed he still wants the £6m-rated Brazilian at the Riverside and has again asked Atletico to start talks.

"We've been in touch and the ball is in their court," said Robson. "I want three or four more players here and I need to talk to them about Juninho."

Atletico president Jesus Gil is facing charges over finances and Robson added: "I can understand why we've had no response, everybody knows the President has problems.

"But it is very frustrating for Juninho, who just wants to sort out his future. All we want is a date for us to go there and talk."

The 27-year-old attacker reported back for training in Madrid this week but is desperate for a way out of the club that was relegated last season.

His father, Osvaldo Giraldo senior, is backing Boro's efforts and is due in Madrid in an effort to get the Spaniards to reduce the current £6m asking price. Robson is ready to pay up to £4m for Juninho and revealed he is close to clinching more signings.

"I'm talking to a couple of clubs and a few agents now about players. Hopefully that will take a week or ten days and maybe I can persuade them to come a lot sooner," he said.

"There's a lot of speculation about top-drawer players and that's going to go on and on. I know Robbie Fowler's been mentioned and he is a good player. Everybody knows I've got quite a bit of money and I'm after top-drawer players but they are going to have to be top-drawer."

Boro look certain to push through a £3m deal for Cameroon international Joseph Desire Job, who is on trial.

But Robson wants Lens to extend the ten-day period so the striker can play against Aberdeen next week.

"It's going quite well but it's difficult to persuade Lens to let him stay a bit longer," he said. "We'd like to play him in the game."

And Robson insisted Christian Ziege is not leaving for Liverpool. "I've spoken to him this morning and he's OK. I'm fed up talking about this," he said.

Keeper Mark Crossley trained for the first time with Boro yesterday after a switch from Nottingham Forest and warned that he wanted the number one slot in front of Mark Schwarzer and Marlon Beresford.

"I haven't come here to be happy picking up the money. You have to be positive, do your best and see what happens," he said.

"I could have stayed at Forest and this is a big step for me after 13 years there. But I needed a fresh challenge."

l Nick Barmby is steeling himself for life on the other side of the Mersey divide claiming that Everton have done well out of his departure to Liverpool. The move has enraged Everton fans and the former Middlesbrough star knows life is going to be tough in the city