Championship side hold 'conversations' with Sunderland target as free agent battle hots-up

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has revealed he is yet to offer Stewart Downing a contract – but remains keen on the Sunderland-linked wideman.

Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing is looking for a new club.
Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing is looking for a new club.

Downing was released by Middlesbrough this summer and is now on the lookout for a new club, with a number of second-tier sides thought to be keen.

And Mowbray, who didn’t manage the former Liverpool winger during his time at the Riverside Stadium, is an admirer.

Sunderland, too, are believed to be keen as Jack Ross looks to identify an extra spark of creativity that was lacking in his side last season.

Competition is set to be fierce and, while Blackburn are yet to offer a deal, Mowbray confirmed that talks had taken place over a potential move.

And the experienced manager remains ‘relaxed’ over the situation – despite reports of heavy interest in the ex-England international.

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.

“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.”