South Korea striker Lee Dong-Gook was released by Middlesbrough on Tuesday as Gareth Southgate started a clear-out that also saw Fabio Rochemback and Gaizka Mendieta leave the Premier League club.
Lee, 29, struggled to break into the first team at the Riverside Stadium after his free transfer from Pohang Steelers in January 2007.
He scored only twice in 29 appearances and hadn’t played for Southgate’s side since February, making his exit inevitable.
“We took a chance on signing Dong Gook at a time when money was tight,” Southgate told Middlesbrough’s website. “By his own admission he didn’t play as well as he thought he could, but he was never a minute’s problem.
“He has offers from clubs in Japan and possibly Germany so we wish him well.”
Brazilian midfielder Rochemback would have been out of contract in June and is already talking to Sporting Lisbon about a move to the Portuguese club.
Mendieta’s four-year spell at the Riverside Stadium is also over. The 34-year-old helped Middlesbrough win their first major trophy when they beat Bolton in the 2004 League Cup final, but had not played since December 2006.
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