Middlesbrough issue Downing warning
Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb today told Tottenham to once and for all forget about signing Stewart Downing this month.
Reacting to speculation Boro had rejected a third bid for the 24-year-old amounting to £14.5million, Lamb said: "We again reiterate that no senior players will be leaving this football club during January. That is the end of the matter.
"Any ongoing media speculation is therefore meaningless and we will not continue to respond to it."
Lamb's statement came after the club had denied a further offer from Spurs had been received, although sources close to Downing were insisting the Londoners were refusing to give up on the England international.
Boro have become used to having to fend off approaches from White Hart Lane for the winger, who has caught the eye of successive Tottenham managers.
They have become increasingly exasperated - and indeed, determined not to do business - as the saga has worn on.
However, Downing's own desperation for the move to go through just 11 months after he signed a new five-year deal has left them in a difficult position.
That said, their stance has simply hardened in the wake of two bids they have acknowledged and speculation over a third, with reports claiming the Teessiders would receive £12.5m up front followed by further payments of £500,0000 up to a total of £2million each time the player completes 30 appearances.
Having seen his club turn down an initial offer amounting to around £8m, Downing handed in a written transfer request on Monday, which was rejected.
Lamb later revealed that Boro had also rebuffed an improved offer, thought to involve a package of up to £13m.
He said at the time: "We received a written transfer request from Stewart this morning. It was considered before being rejected.
"Prior to receiving the transfer request, we received an improved offer for Stewart from Tottenham.
"We immediately rejected this offer and informed Tottenham that Stewart Downing is not for sale and any further interest they have in the player will not be entertained."
Lamb's latest statement seeks to draw a line under the whole episode, although whether or not Spurs finally accept the race is run remains to be seen.
Should that prove to be the case, Boro would face the prospect of attempting to restore relations with Downing, whose father - also Stewart - revealed earlier this week that he had asked to leave because he believed the club did not share his ambition.
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