MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray has warned Premier League new boys Swansea City they will not pick up Leroy Lita and Marvin Emnes on the cheap.
Swansea chief scout David Leadbeater was at the Northern Echo Arena on Saturday to see strikers Lita and Emnes play against Darlington in a pre-season friendly, in which Lita got on the scoresheet despite the Conference side running out 4-2 winners.
Swansea have been monitoring the pair for some time, and have already had a £2million bid rejected by Boro.
However, the signs are the Swans will make a renewed effort to take the duo to Wales, as manager Brendan Rogers looks to increase his attacking options ahead of their maiden Premier League campaign.
Mowbray has made no secret of the fact that Boro need to slash their wage bill, and Didier Digard last week followed Kris Boyd and Andrew Taylor out of the Riverside exit door.
But, while there is little doubt that Emnes – who had a successful loan spell with Swansea last season – and Lita would be allowed to leave if the price is right, Mowbray insists that Boro are not interested in a cut-price deal.
He said: “In my own mind, I think if Swansea have got any real, genuine interest they should let us know.
“Maybe that was why their chief scout was there – I don’t know.
“Do they know enough about these players? I’d like to think that they do.
“What I would say is that the closer it gets to the start of the season, the less likely we are to want to let any of them go. There’s no fire sale on.
“The chairman has stated pretty clearly that if the deal doesn’t suit our football club, there’s no deal to be done.
“It’s about getting a balance. We need to readjust the finances and as we do that, we’ll take each proposed deal as it comes along and decide whether it is good for us or not good for us.
“At the moment, there are no deals for either of our strikers that is suitable for us.”
Mowbray was downbeat after seeing his side give away four bad goals against Darlington. Mark Cooper’s men took the lead on 17 minutes when Liam Hatch climbed above the visiting defence to meet Kris Taylor’s right-wing corner-kick, and power a header into the net from six yards.
Darlington’s lead only lasted three minutes, however, and it was Lita who levelled with a low strike from the edge of the penalty area, which beat Quakers keeper Sam Russell and found the bottom left-hand corner.
Boro went in front on the half-hour after Tarmo Kink and Emnes exchanged passes inside the box, before Kink blasted home from close range.
But the Quakers got back on terms four minutes before the interval when Taylor looped a high ball into the box, Boro keeper Danny Coyne failed to collect and new signing James Walshaw bundled home from almost on the goalline.
Walshaw turned provider nine minutes into the second period to deliver a perfect left-wing cross for Jamie Chandler to head the home side back in front.
And on-trial Carlisle man Ryan Bowman finished Boro off in the 90th minute, when his attempted cross from the right deceived Coyne and the keeper could only watch as the ball dropped into the net.
DARLINGTON: Russell, Madden (Gray 46), Miller, Lee, G Taylor, Smith (Campbell 46), Elliot (Rundle 46, (McReady 52)), Chandler, K Taylor (Ferguson 77), Walshaw (Bowman 67), Hatch (Wright 67). Subs (not used): Nixon, Quinn, Bridge-Wilkinson
MIDDLESBROUGH: Coyne, McMahon, R Williams, McManus, Grounds (Reach 67), Robson (Miller 72), Bailey (Martin 67), Zemmama (Hines 67), Kink (Main 87), Lita, Emnes (L Williams 67). Subs (not used): Ripley
Referee: Steve Smith