Goodison Park side said to be interested in Anfield flop.
MIDDLESBROUGH are the front-runners in the race to land Stewart Downing but the next 72 hours could be crucial if hopes of bringing the Liverpool winger back home are to be realised.
A number of Premier League clubs are interested in making a January move to end his Anfield frustrations after falling out of favour with manager Brendan Rodgers.
But with the prospect of spending the next six weeks or more out of the first team picture, Downing is understood to be attracted by the prospect of moving back to Teesside this week.
Liverpool would prefer to raise some cash from selling £10m-rated Downing in the new year, but Middlesbrough would only have the money to meet such demands if they returned to the top-flight.
Everton and his former manager Martin O’Neill, now at Sunderland, are likely to be among those interested after Christmas.
SOURCE: Northern Echo
Whilst clearly a move to the North-East could work for romantic reasons, Downing having become something of a hero at the Riverside, the England man would presumably be more interested in the short move from Liverpool to Everton, not least because David Moyes’s side have started the season solidly.
Last season Downing was a virtual ever present under Kenny Dalglish but this term Brendan Rodgers appears to see the winger as surplus to requirements, coming in for public criticism from the Liverpool boss and as such a move away from the club is a distinct possibility though any sale would presumably involve a fairly big fee.
Liverpool spent £20m to bring the wide-man from Aston Villa and as this source points out, at least £10m will be needed to land the 28 year old, is that a fee that cash strapped Everton are likely to fork out? Similarly Middlesbrough may be reluctant to spend such a sum, even if they were heading back to the top flight, such is the average form shown by the Sunderland born attacker over the past 18 months.
Rodgers has elected to drop big money mistakes like Downing and Jordan Henderson whilst loaning out Andy Carroll to West Ham. The Liverpool manager has then opted to give youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom a chance to impress, chances they have all taken with aplomb.
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