MIDDLESBROUGH look set to lose the race for Brazilian striker Rodrigo Muniz after fresh reports indicate Fulham have stepped up their negotiations.

Boro have been in discussions with Flamengo to purchase the 20-year-old permanently with the club proposing a straight purchase and a sell-on fee of around 50%. Fulham had discussed a loan deal with the option to buy after a season. 

Brazilian website Coluna Do Fla reported that Boro were the preferred option to broker a deal for Muniz. However, Fulham renewed discussions with Flamengo where a permanent offer was discussed. 

It's believed that Muniz prefers a move to West London and Flamengo are now waiting for a formal offer from Marco Silva's side so that a deal can be made between the two sides. 

Flamengo vice president Marco Braz told Brazilian media: "We just sold Hugo Moura to Lugano and, one which can happen later, the sale of Muniz, in which we are still in negotiations."

It's easy to make the connection between Boro and Muniz given that Neil Warnock has told the media previously that he is searching for a striker in South America ahead of the new Championship campaign. It's understood that Boro have been in the market for three South American players with Chief Executive Neil Bausor and coach Leo Percovich attempting to orchestrate deals. 

Warnock told the media last week: “I’ve watched a few players in the last few weeks, and we are looking."

"Neil has gone over to talk to people about a couple of players. He’s met a couple of clubs regarding players over there – not (Martin) Payero, we’re looking at other strikers.

"There were two opportunities, and he’s doing his best to get us someone else on board."

The two teams meet on the opening day of the season this Sunday at Craven Cottage. 

Meanwhile the club are still yet to announce the signing of Argentine midfielder Martin Payero. The 22-year-old posted from Rockliffe Park on Sunday ahead of his proposed move to the club.

Warnock told the meia last week: “He’s not (a Middlesbrough player) yet, not as far as I’m aware, although I think it is all done with regard to contracts”

"I’ve spoken to the player, and he’s really looking forward to it. I can’t really do any more. I’ve done all I can do, it’s just a case of finalising things now.”