Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing is ready to force a move through to Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur by handing in a formal transfer request on Monday morning, according to reports.
24-year-old Downing is the main target for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp in the transfer window, with it understood that the English International is ready to quit the Riverside Stadium for White Hart Lane after the interest shown in him by the North London club.
Boro manager Gareth Southgate has repeatedly claimed that Downing will not be sold in January, with Tottenham believed to have already tested the water with a bid of £6million for the winger. Chief executive Keith Lamb dismissed this offer and called it derisory.
However, should Downing force Southgate’s hand by demanding a move it is likely that the Middlesbrough board will allow the winger to leave the North East club after granting Yakubu a move to Everton last season, when he wanted to leave the Riverside. With Boro holding out for somewhere nearer their £15million valuation of their home grown talent Downing.
Whether Redknapp is ready to match the valuation of Middlesbrough remains to be seen, with the Tottenham chief insisting that he will not pay over the odds for any player this month as he puts his own mark on the Spurs squad.
Downing however, is under contract at Middlesbrough until 2013, having signed a new five-year deal last February, which means Spurs, will have to up the ante if Redknapp truly does want to bring Downing to Tottenham.