Agent says Downing will leave Boro
Stewart Downing's agent insists the England international has no intention of signing a new contract at Middlesbrough.
The 23-year-old winger, who has two years remaining on his current deal, has rejected the offer of an extension and has been the subject of repeated speculation that he could leave for Tottenham during the current transfer window.
Boro boss Gareth Southgate and chief executive Keith Lamb have repeatedly experessed the club's intention to hang on to their home-grown talent and a player they are understood to value at around £12million.
However, agent Ian Elliott has expressed his surprise at comments from Southgate suggesting he has been informed that the player is staying on Teesside and has accepted the fact.
Indeed, Elliott is adamant that, if he has to see out the two remaining years on his current deal, he will do so and then leave under freedom of contract.
Elliott told the Sky Sports website: 'Stewart's made his position quite clear to all parties at Middlesbrough - the chairman, chief executive and Gareth Southgate in private, so we are surprised by comments released by the manager saying that he has been informed he is staying and has accepted the situation.
'Indeed, he has two years left on his current contract. If he has to see out the remaining two years, then so be it.
'We would point out that the previous offer from the club has been rejected out of hand.
'We will not enter into any further negotiations and the player will see out the two years and option his rights under freedom of contract at the end of it.
'If the club value the player at £12million, why didn't they make an offer reflecting that?
'Whilst this situation is not about money or contract now, the contract previously offered does not reflect that of a player at that value.'
The Downing camp's stance will come as a blow to Southgate, who tonight saw England defender Jonathan Woodgate join Tottenham.
However, the manager was today concentrating on tomorrow night's Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan having been boosted by the return of one striker and preparing for the arrival of another.
Egypt international Mido is expected to make his first league appearance since October 20 after recovering fromm a stress fracture of the pubic bone.
But it is the imminent arrival of £12million Heerenveen frontman Afonso Alves which Boro hope will make a major impact on their season.
The 26-year-old's initial application for a work permit is certain to be rejected, and the Teessiders are hoping for an appeal hearing on Wednesday, provided they can tie up the deal.
Southgate said: 'There are still a few bits and pieces to be done on the deal, but I understand that it is not too far away.
'Hopefully we will get him across for a medical over the next 48 hours.
'Obviously we are aware of how many games he has played for Brazil and we expect to have to appeal. We believe that we have a very strong case and we are hopeful he will receive the work permit.'
Tomorrow night's match will be watched by new England manager Fabio Capello, and Southgate believes that there are four players in the Boro side who could come under the international microscope.
Downing will be hoping to keep his place in the international squad, while full-back Luke Young will be hoping to win a recall.
In addition, Southgate believes that Capello should note the form of midfielder Gary O'Neil and also young defender David Wheater.