Report claims manager decision is key in Rangers' and Blackburn’s bid to sign Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing in action during an England training session, ahead of the UEFA European Championship qualifier against Slovenia, at St Georges Park on November 11, 2014 in Burton-upon-...

Rangers and Blackburn Rovers have been linked with Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing.

Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Middlesbrough and Sunderland at the Riverside Stadium on January 6, 2018 in Middlesbrough, England.

According to the Daily Star, Rangers and Blackburn Rovers may miss out on the chance to sign Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing if the Teesside club opt to appoint Jonathan Woodgate as their new manager.

It is cited in the report that both Rangers and Blackburn are keen on signing the winger who is out of contract this summer. Downing, however, is waiting over his future as Woodgate is prepared to offer him a new 12-month deal should he be offered the Boro job.

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Woodgate is said to be one of the front-runners for the vacant Middlesbrough job after Tony Pulis’s exit, but he faces competition from the likes of former Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic.

 

Downing has become a Boro icon after deciding to leave the Premier League to re-join his boyhood club, signing a four-year deal in 2015.

In his first season back at the Riverside, the 34-year-old helped his club to promotion under then manager Aitor Karanka. However, the past three seasons haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Boro were relegated in their first season back in the top-flight, and they’ve missed out on a return in the past two years.

Boro are seemingly now looking to cut costs as they enter the final year on reduced parachute payments, and Downing is likely to be among their higher earners.

Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough shoots on goal during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Sunderland at the Riverside Stadium on April 26, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray has worked with Downing before, while Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was a former teammate of the veteran during his time at Liverpool and with England.

Both Rovers and the Gers could see a free transfer for Downing on reduced terms as a potential coup, but it’s likely his first option would be to remain on Teesside under the guidance of Woodgate.

Stewart Downing (L) of Middlesbrough challenges Bryan Oviedo of Sunderland during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Middlesbrough and Sunderland at the Riverside Stadium on...

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