Harry keen to move on Down­ing

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

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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