MIDDLESBROUGH have kicked off their summer transfer business with the signing of forward Alex Gilbert.

The 21-year-old has signed a four-year deal at the Riverside after turning down the offer of a new deal at Brentford.

While he joins Boro as a free agent, his age means the Bees will be due a compensation payment which is likely to be around Β£1m.

A Republic of Ireland youth international, Gilbert Brentford's B team last season and was top scorer as theyΒ lifted the Premier League Cup.Β 

Comfortable playing anywhere across the frontline, he scored 16 goals and claimed eight assists as he was named Brentford B's Player of the Year last term.

He joins Michael Carrick's Boro squad after opting against extending his stay at the Brentford Community Stadium, with the Teessiders having beaten off competition from a number of rivals to have secured his signature.

Gilbert was offered a new deal with Brentford, but felt he needed a new challenge that would give him a realistic chance of playing regular first-team football next season.


Carrick and the rest of Boro's recruitment team have persuaded him that a move to Teesside will provide him with just that.

Having completed a medical and finalised the personal terms of his switch to the North-East, Gilbert has already flown out to Boro's warm-weather training camp in the Algarve to meet up with his new team-mates.

The Teessiders are closing in on two other transfer deals, with centre-half Raj van den Berg set to join from Dutch club PEC Zwolle and winger Sammy Silvera on the verge of agreeing a move from Australian side Central Coast Mariners.