Middlesbrough boss battling to beat Sunderland for Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing
Stewart Downing
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Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka admits he faces a battle to sign Sunderland target Stewart Downing from West Ham.

The Teessider looks certain to leave the Hammers, with a return to the North East likely.

But which club he goes to remains to be seen.

“I can’t say anything about Stewart as a player because everybody knows him,” said Karanka.

“For me it is difficult to think about him because I know it is very difficult for me to get this type of player because he is a Premier League player.

“He has offers from other places but I am here to assemble a squad as good as we can.”

Karanka could be signing keeper Shay Given.

Asked about the former Newcastle United keeper, Karanka said: “We are working on the keeper position, we are working on the striker position, we are working on the midfielder position.

“Shay was here, I know him, he knows me, so we are working and let’s see.”