Southgate warns Spurs away from Downing bid
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has spoken out over the manner of Tottenham's interest in Stewart Downing and has held talks with the England winger to persuade him to stay at the Riverside Stadium.
Southgate does not want to sell the 24-year-old to Spurs, with manager Harry Redknapp prioritising a left-sided midfielder and striker during the transfer window.
"Spurs have expressed an interest in Stewart but we're not interested in selling him,'' Southgate said. "We think we need to keep hold of our best players.
"If Tottenham are really interested then they have not shown that in the way they have approached it, so there's nothing doing there.
"We feel that keeping the squad we have together is the most important thing we can do.''
After discussing the matter with the player, Southgate feels Downing wants to stay.
He added: "What I've said to Stewart is that I don't think now would be a good time for him to be seen to be leaving this football club and I think he's in agreement with that.''
Redknapp needs to bolster numbers in his squad and another player linked with a move to Spurs is Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski, who has claimed Spurs have approached him.
The Germany international told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport that he has "received proposals'' regarding a move.
Redknapp wants a reserve goalkeeper to cover for Heurelho Gomes, although the Spurs boss is also a known admirer of Newcastle's Shay Given, whose lawyer has issued a statement claiming "interest being expressed in him by Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham.''