Middlesbrough battling to keep Downing

Middlesbrough reportedly face a real battle to hang onto star winger Stewart Downing during the January transfer window.

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Spurs have been long-term admirers of the England wide man, and speculation is now linking them with a fresh bid.

But Boro chief executive Keith Lamb says the club are desperate to hang onto one of their star performers.

He told the Evening Gazette: "We have had absolutely no contact from Tottenham or any other club about Stewart."

Boro are expected to land a top-class striker during the January window, with Heerenveen ace Afonso Alves tipped to arrive in a £14million deal.

But the Gazette claims Boro boss Gareth Southgate wouldn't need to sell Downing in order to fund any big-money deals.

Downing's Riverside deal has more than two years to run, but talks have so far failed to produce a contract extension.

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