Sunderland could take advantage of Middlesbrough winger's bizarre contract situation
Sunderland and Rangers are keeping tabs on Stewart Downing's contract situation at Middlesbrough, according to reports.
The Northern Echo claim the Black Cats are considering a summer move should the club win promotion from League One but if they did would face fierce competition from Scottish giants Rangers.
A host of other clubs in England are monitoring the former England midfielder's situation plus there is long-standing interest from the MLS.
Downing could leave the Riverside this summer as a result of a bizarre contract situation.
Ex England and Liverpool winger Downing has not started a game for promotion-chasing Middlesbrough since December 29.
That appearance was his 22nd league start of the campaign and another would trigger an automatic contract extension.
As a result Boro boss Tony Pulis has been told not to start him in games, with Downing on large wages and Boro wary of over-committing financially should they not win promotion back to the top flight this summer.
Rangers, also said to be monitoring his situation, are managed by former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard.