Middlesbrough Herald & Post

Harry keen to move on Downing

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BIRMINGHAM boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed his interest in Stewart Downing and suggested the Boro winger could be available for free.

Downing, who has been told he can leave his hometown club, is set for talks with Redknapp in the coming days.

The 32-year-old spent the week in Portugal with the Boro squad but didn’t feature in Saturday night’s win over Chesterfie­ld after picking up a knock in training.

He headed back for the UK with the squad and will look to resolve his future ahead of the coming season - with Redknapp keen take him to St Andrew’s.

“Stewart Downing is a proper player, got a great left foot, he’s fit as a fiddle,” said the 70-year-old.

“Whether we could afford him I don’t know. Wage-wise I don’t know where we would go with it, I haven’t got a clue what he earns, and he belongs to Middlesbro­ugh, but I think they’ve said he can go on a free, so he’s of interest.”

Garry Monk has recently bolstered his attack with the signing of Martin Braithwait­e but will still look to bring in more new faces as he attempts to revamp the forward line.

Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo is on the radar, with Jurgen Klopp said to favour the 20-year-old moving to Teesside on a season long loan instead of a Premier League club.

Ojo wasn’t part of the 25man Liverpool squad that jetted out to Hong Kong to play in the Asia Trophy.

Downing met with Monk earlier in the summer when he was told that he was free to look for a new club. The experience­d former England internatio­nal has since started pre- season with Boro and featured in the 0-0 draw with Oxford on Wednesday night.

Monk praised the commitment of Downing, as well as Gaston Ramirez - another player whose future is uncertain - following that Oxford game, but it’s understood that he’d still be willing to let the former Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham midfielder move on.

After saving Birmingham from the drop last season, Redknapp is targeting a promotion tilt this time around. He’s already missed out on John Terry this summer but has now been linked with moves for Robbie Keane and Ashley Cole. He told Sky Sports : “They’re not over the hill. I went to Portsmouth in the same sort of situation. I went there and took Paul Merson, Steve Stone, Tim Sherwood. They were proper blokes, proper men and we won the league.”

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