Aussie Paul Okon reported for training at Middlesbrough yesterday and revealed he wants to be part of the club's first major triumph.

The Bosman signing from Fiorentina is a mystery man, virtually unknown in England despite a high-profile eight-year career on the continent.

The 28-year-old from Sydney played for Bruges in Belgium before switching to Lazio for four seasons and then Fiorentina, where he played in the Champions League last year. Okon's appearance total has been cut back by injury, with three knee operations.

But he has been free of problems for two years and is now aiming to help Boro take a step towards real success.

"I'm excited about the move even though it was a wrench leaving Italy. Middlesbrough are a club with a lot of ambition," said the Australia captain.

"They have won nothing of note in their history.

"But the chairman and the manager explained to me they are ready to do whatever possible to win something for the first time."

Meanwhile, Liverpool target Christian Ziege will report back to Middlesbrough on Monday - a week earlier than scheduled.

The German defender has cut short his post-Euro 2000 break after crisis talks with Bryan Robson.

The Boro boss is concerned at the way Ziege is being persistently linked with a move to Anfield.

Robson, who denies there is a get-out clause in Ziege's four-year contract, quizzed him at length on the telephone. And now the 28-year-old will return to the Riverside from Germany for further discussions.

Robson insists Ziege is not leaving. And number two Viv Anderson yesterday claimed the wing-back volunteered to return early during the talks with the Boro boss.

"Bryan spoke to Christian for a long time and there is no question about a move anywhere, let alone Liverpool," he said.

"In fact he's so keen to return here he asked to come back early. It's not the sign of a man who wants to be away."

But Liverpool could still make a £6m bid to line Ziege up alongside international team-mates Didi Hamann and Markus Babbel