Middlesbrough made it clear to English Premier League rivals Tottenham that Stewart Downing would not be leaving during the January transfer window after rejecting the England winger's transfer request. "We received a written transfer request from Stewart this (Monday) morning," said Boro chief executive Keith Lamb. "It was considered before being rejected.
"Prior to receiving the transfer request, we received an improved offer for Stewart from Tottenham," Lamb went on. "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."
Downing handed in his transfer request after Boro chairman Steve Gibson insisted the 24-year-old was not about to quit the north-east club. Although he signed a new five-year contract with Middlesbrough in February last year, Downing has grown increasingly frustrated with what he regards as his hometown club's lack of ambition.
Downing's father, Stewart senior, told Middlesbrough's Evening Gazette on Monday: "Stewart's been frustrated since the summer, really. When he signed his new contract he was assured that there would be significant investment in the squad.
"He feels that the club haven't matched those expectations. He's also frustrated that the team is once again struggling in the Premier League," he went on. "Obviously as a Middlesbrough lad, he's thought long and hard about the decision to hand in a transfer request, and he also hopes the fans will understand his reasons for doing so."
Boro, only above the relegation zone on goal difference, are understood to want 15 million pounds (16.5 million euros) for Downing with Spurs opening their bidding at only 11 million pounds.