Middlesbrough to reject Spurs target Stewart Downing's transfer request

05 January 2009 12:41
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is desperate for Downing to bolster the White Hart Lane club's fight against relegation but struggling Boro are equally determined to hold on to their star player.

Downing handed in a written transfer request this morning shortly after arriving at Boro's Rockcliffe Park training ground in a bid to force through a move from his hometown club to Spurs.

His club have so far neither confirmed or denied Downing's transfer request but this lunchtime their website has strongly hinted that the 24-year-old would be told he would be staying at Boro.

As Downing's paymasters mulled over his dramatic move, the official website gave an invaluable insight into their thinking following Chairman Steve Gibson 's assertion that he would not leave the club less than a year into a five-year contract.

"Steve Gibson insists that no senior players will leave the Riverside during January after the club turned down an offer from Tottenham for Stewart Downing," the club website said.

"Following speculation in the media that Spurs were interested in Boro's England winger, the Boro chairman confirmed that a Spurs bid for Downing had been rejected."

Both Gibson and manager Gareth Southgate reiterated previous statements that Boro were determined to hold on to the current first team squad as the club looks to move up the Barclays Premier League.

Earlier Gibson had warned Tottenham counterpart Daniel Levy off Downing.

"I can confirm we have received an offer from Spurs for Stewart Downing and I can also confirm we have rejected that offer," said Gibson. "I've spoken to Daniel Levy and told him categorically that their interest is not welcome.

"I've also told him we will not entertain any further offers for Stewart or, for that matter, any other senior member of our squad. The same applies to Tuncay and it also applies to Gary O'Neil.

"I repeat: none of our senior players will be leaving the Riverside Stadium this month. We've got a talented group of players and it's time for us to knuckle down and focus on the job in hand. As far as we're concerned, this is now an end to the matter."

Boro manager Southgate has also spoken to opposite number Redknapp about Downing.

"Harry's got to do what's right for his club and I've got to do what's right for mine," Southgate said.

"Stewart's our best player so we don't feel it would be wise to let him go and I don't think it would look great for him because the club are in a difficult situation and everybody needs to be rallying for the cause."

Southgate added: "Of course he wants to play at the highest possible level and we've always said that if one of the real big-hitters came in for him it would be difficult for us to stop him. But Tottenham are on the same points as us and so there's a lot for us to think about.

"But I'm not under pressure to sell any player. The only way any player will leave is if everyone at every level believes it's the right thing and will help us to climb the table. We're very much together on that."

Source: Telegraph