Middlesbrough's England winger Stewart Downing has taken a step closer to joining Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur by handing in a transfer request.

Downing's move came just hours after Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson insisted the 24-year-old would not be leaving the north-east club during January's transfer window. Although he signed a new five-year contract with Middlesbrough in February last year, Downing has grown increasingly frustrated with what he regards as his home town club's lack of ambition.

"Stewart's been frustrated since the summer, really. When he signed his new contract he was assured that there would be significant investment in the squad. He feels that the club haven't matched those expectations. He feels that the club haven't matched those expectations. He's also frustrated that the team is once again struggling in the Premier League. Obviously as a Middlesbrough lad, he's thought long and hard about the decision to hand in a transfer request, and he also hopes the fans will understand his reasons for doing so." Downing's father, Stewart senior, told Middlesbrough's Evening Gazette on Monday:
Boro are understood to want £15 million (16.5 million euros) for Downing with Spurs opening their bidding at only £11 million. Tottenham's initial offer was branded "derisory" by Boro chief executive Keith Lamb, who also told the News of the World on Sunday that Spurs were guilty of hypocrisy when it came to prising players away from their clubs.
"Who on earth do they think they are? They bleated away when Dimitar Berbatov left for Manchester United in the summer but they sold at top dollar. Then they want to snatch other players for derisory offers and try to unsettle players. That is what has happened here. Their offer is a joke. Why would we sell our best players to our nearest rivals? Stewart is going nowhere," said Lamb.

Highlights : The best of Steward Downing - s0 far


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