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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Middlesbrough sign Parlour
Ray Parlour
Middlesbrough have signed Arsenal's Ray Parlour on a three-year contract.

The 31-year-old, who made 464 appearances and won three Premiership titles and three FA Cups in 12 years at Highbury, joins on a free transfer.

Parlour becomes Boro's fourth signing of the summer after strikers Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and defender Michael Reiziger.

Parlour said: "Winning is a habit and if we can get this into the club I'm sure we can go a long way this season."

He added: "The players they've brought in are fantastic - the squad has a very good chance of progressing from last season.

"Winning the Carling Cup was massive last season but I'm sure we can do better. Hopefully I can bring a little more to the team - I have experience of winning.

"I was coming to my last year of my contract and I've come here to win medals. We want to challenge and win trophies.

"It was a wrench to leave. Arsenal have been a fantastic club.

He has been a hero for the football club, and it is a sad day for us
Arsene Wenger

"I've been involved in some amazing games and amazing seasons but this was the time for me to leave and I'm really looking forward to this season."

Parlour has suffered from injuries in the last two seasons, making only 26 starts for the Gunners.

His contract at Arsenal was due to expire next year and the Gunners were not prepared to match Boro's three-year offer.

But Gunners boss Arsene Wenger still paid tribute to the Romford-born star.

"Ray is a big loss, and we wish him good luck," Wenger said.

"He has been a hero for the football club, and it is a sad day for us."

Birmingham were also thought to be interested in Parlour, and the player himself had said he wanted to join West Ham, but Boro won the chase to sign him.

Agent Steve Kutner said: "He's excited about playing for Middlesbrough in Europe next season and very happy to extend his career because he only had one year left at Arsenal."

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren said this season's squad was the strongest he has assembled in his spell at the Riverside.

"With players of Ray's quality, training is a pleasure to watch," said the manager.

"He's a player I've admired throughout his career. He's a player of tremendous talent and ability, and he's got a great attitude.

"Above all...he's a winner. That's what we need to bring to this club, more winners.

"At times we very short in midfield last season, we were always searching for that one central midfielder who was flexible. Ray fits the bill ideally."

Interview: Ray Parlour

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