Blackburn Rovers boss reveals talks with Sunderland summer target

Tony Mowbray has confirmed his interest in Sunderland target Stewart Downing but has revealed he hasn’t yet offered him a deal.

By Richard Mennear
Thursday, 13 June, 2019, 14:50
Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing is looking for a new club.

Downing is soon to become a free agent with his contract with boyhood club Middlesbrough due to expire later this month.

Sunderland are among a host of clubs credited with an interest in the winger, though he would have to take a significant pay cut to sign a deal at the Stadium of Light.

A move to Sunderland would mean he wouldn’t have to uproot his family but a move to Championship side Blackburn Rovers may appeal.

Blackburn boss Mowbray has publicly confirmed his interest in Downing, who turns 35 next month.

The former Boro boss told the Lancashire Telegraph: “There’s no offer, there’s been conversations.

“Stewart is an out of contact footballer. I’m relaxed and comfortable.

“If Stewart Downing wants to come to Blackburn Rovers then I think he’s a very talented footballer.

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“If he wants to go to any of the other clubs that have been mentioned then that’s fine also, whether that’s to play more football or earn a few more quid.

“That would be no problem.”

There could be a chance Downing is offered a new deal by incoming Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate to stay at the Riverside but as things stand his future lies away from Boro. Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday have also been credited.

Mowbray added: “I know him from my ties with Middlesbrough Football Club over a number of years and he has decisions to make. He has options. My personality isn’t to beat him with a stick and say ‘if we don’t know by Friday then forget it you’re not coming’.

“Footballers have to make the right decision and if they are to come to your football club they need to weigh things up, decide what’s right for them, feel the positives or negatives about what the managers have spoken about and then make the decisions.”

Sunderland have also been linked with a move for Downing's former Boro teammate Dimi Konstantopoulos, though at the age of 40 the free agent would only be a short-term option.