Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has claimed that England International Stewart Downing is too good for Tottenham Hotspur after Boro rejected two bid for the winger from their Premier League rivals earlier in the week.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had made 24-year-old Downing his main transfer target after securing the return of striker Jermain Defoe to White Hart Lane from Portsmouth. However, after the rejection of the two offers for Downing, Redknapp is understood to have conceded that he will not land Downing from Middlesbrough this month, despite the winger handing in a transfer request at the Riverside Stadium.
Now Southgate has revealed that should Downing leave Boro, he should set his sights higher than the North London club, with Southgate insisting that he wants the best for Downing.
“I don't think it (a move to Spurs] is in the interests of our club or in the interests of Stewart,” said Southgate.
“There's a certain level that, if Stewart's going to leave this club, he should be going to.
“I'm not knocking Tottenham but I've had plenty of conversations with Stewart about his future, the majority of which I'd prefer to keep private. He totally understands I want the best for him.”
Southgate did concede that if Boro had been in a more comfortable position in the Premiership, where the North East club are currently just outside the drop-zone. Middlesbrough might have been more willing to let Downing leave for Spurs.
“If we'd had seven more points now it could quite possibly have been a different situation,” Southgate added.