MIDDLEBROUGH are lining up a £4.5m raid for Pompey's top scorer Ayegbeni Yakubu.

The Nigerian international had a sensational first season in the Premiership, scoring 19 goals while helping Harry Redknapp's side comfortably beat the drop.

Steve McClaren is understood to be chasing Yakubu to bolster his forward line after being turned down by Leeds striker Alan Smith.

It is thought the nature of Yakubu's contract make things more complicated for Pompey.

Yakubu's former club, Maccabi Haifa in Israel, still own half the player following his move to Fratton Park 18 months ago and want to cash in on their half. Boro's offer is understood to be £4m more than is required to be able to speak to the player about a possible move.

Redknapp has got to work on bringing players in this summer to try consolidate the club's Premiership status next season.

Newcastle defender Andy Griffin could be the first to join.

The 25-year-old versatile defender is available on a free transfer, Redknapp having failed in a £1.2m double raid in January for Griffin and Lomana Lua Lua.

Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric confirmed: "There are a few things to be tied up. He is a quality defender and still quite young. He is just the sort of player Harry is keen to bring in."

Meanwhile Tim Sherwood, released by Pompey this week, has been handed a possible lifeline with the news that he could be offered a new pay-as-you-play deal if he wants to stay at Fratton Park.