Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp is close to signing Middlesbrough England International Stewart Downing, who the Spurs manager has been an admirer of since his time at charge of Portsmouth and is keen to add the left-winger to his squad at White Hart Lane in January.
The main sticking point in negotiations for 24-year-old Downing seem to be the price, with Boro wanting £15million for the winger, who only recently signed a new contract at the Riverside Stadium in February and is tied to the North East club until 2013 under the new deal, according to The Sun.
With Downing on such a long deal at the Premier League side, Boro manager Gareth Southgate is in a position to name his price, with it understood that Southgate wants Welsh International Gareth Bale (left) to come the other way as part of any deal involving Downing.
Despite not being a regular in the Tottenham starting XI, Redknapp is understood to be reluctant to let Bale leave in the opposite direction for the Riverside and reports suggest that another left-sided Spurs player Jamie O’Hara could be used as a bargaining chip to make the deal go through.
Southgate has admitted that there is no player in his squad that doesn’t have a price, but has insisted that he will fight to keep his best players in January and that any offers for his stars would have to be exceptional.
Gareth Southgate said: “I'd love to say x, y or z are untouchable but I can't. I've got to be honest and say certain players would be sold.
“They would have to be exceptional offers but there are certain clubs with exceptional money.
“We'll fight to keep our best players but are not in a position to say they are untouchable when there is an offer too good to turn down.
“The majority of clubs in this division will feel the same way in January.”