Manchester City and Liverpool are set to join Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the signature of England International winger Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough, when the transfer window reopens in January, according to reports.
Spurs have been continuously linked with a move to bring24-year-old Downing to White Hart Lane over the past couple of seasons. With Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said to be a big admirer of the left-sided player.
Now reports have suggested that Reds boss Rafa Benitez along with City chief Mark Hughes are also interested in signing Downing from Boro in January and are both prepared to meet Middlesbrough’s £12million valuation of the player.
Hughes is desperate for a left-sided player at the Eastlands Stadium due to the long-term injury to Martin Petrov and has identified Downing as the ideal replacement for the Bulgarian International. Money will be no object for the Blues, should a bidding war commence between the three Premier League clubs in January for the midfielder.
Liverpool on the other hand are widely known to have to sell before Benitez can bring in fresh faces to Anfield, which could leave them trailing in any race for Downing to City or Tottenham. However, the Merseyside club could offer some sort of swap-deal plus cash for Downing, with Yossi Beneyoun and Jermaine Pennant believed to be surplus to requirements at the Premiership club.
Boro manager Gareth Southgate is keen to keep Downing, who recently signed a new five-year deal at the Riverside Stadium. Should a bidding war start for the winger it might be hard for board at the North East club to resist a big-money offer for Downing, who has been at Middlesbrough since 2001.