MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray accepts that midfielder Julio Arca will leave the club in the summer.
The former Sunderland star is on a reported £30,000 a week at the Riverside and when his contract runs out at the end of the season, the 30-year-old Argentinian will have to look for a new club.
Boro just can’t afford those kind of wages anymore, and Mowbray has to take a pragmatic view.
“There’s not a lot we can do about Julio. He was signed when we were in the Premier League and he’s on Premier League money,” he said.
“His contract is expiring at a level that is unsustainable for us. I really like him as a footballer and a man. He really buys into the way we want to do things, and his performance level suggests he likes the way we’re trying to do things.
“There’s a perception that he must be old because he’s been around so long, but he only turned 30 a couple of weeks ago. He has a lot of football still to play, and a lot of earning power in the remainder of his career.”
Wigan are interested in taking Arca, and would be able to offer more money than Boro.
Mowbray, meanwhile, could sign Stoke defender Andrew Davies on loan next week.
Davies trained with Boro at the turn of the year but a deal was not agreed. A compromise now looks likely for a player who was left out of Stoke’s 25-man squad.
Arca, Barry Robson and Andrew Taylor all miss tomorrow’s Championship trip to Millwall because of injuries.
Fit-again Jonathan Franks, though, is itching for a chance.
The 20-year-old winger had only just returned to the first-team fold at Norwich last month when he was struck down with a thigh injury.
“I’ve had numerous talks with the coaches and Tony Mowbray and I want to get back in.” he said.
Mowbray has been handed some better news after both Rhys Williams and Willo Flood enjoyed run-outs in a behind-closed-doors game against Sheffield United this week.
Mowbray said: “They’re getting closer. Willo brings great energy to the team, so it will be good to have him back, while Rhys looks a fantastic athlete who cruises around the pitch.”