According to The Telegraph, Middlesbrough midfielder Stewart Downing is set to leave the club in the January transfer window due to a bizarre clause in his contract with the club.
Based on the clause, another start for Boro will entitle Downing to a new and improved contract, which means Boro will have to pay him more than his current reported £35,000-a-week wages.
However, since Boro are already looking to offload high earners and streamline the squad, they reportedly won’t be offering the 34-year-old a new contract. That, in turn, will allow Downing to seek a move away.
Following spells with Aston Villa, Liverpool, and West Ham United, Downing came back to Boro in the summer of 2015. Since then, he has been an integral part of the squad which first earned a promotion to and then suffered relegation from the Premier League.
The Telegraph further reports that Downing held talks with the Middlesbrough hierarchy last week, in which both parties agreed that the player will leave the club if a suitable offer comes in for his services.
There could still be a stumbling block, though, as not many clubs in the Championship might want to pay £35,000-a-week for a 34-year-old, considering the fact that Downing hasn’t been a regular at Middlesbrough this season.
If that happens, and a suitable offer doesn’t come in for the former Liverpool and Aston Villa player, Boro might have no choice but to foot his wage bill for the remainder of his contract.
That will definitely be bad news for Tony Pulis who is looking to add names to his squad in a bid to reinforce their push for promotion to the Premier League.