Reported Rangers target is claimed to prefer a move to Sunderland ahead of joining the Light Blues this summer, according to the Northern Echo.

Downing is claimed to be a transfer target for Steven Gerrard once his Middlesbrough contract expires in the summer but it is suggested that the former England international would prefer to remain in the North-East after leaving West Ham for similar reasons a few seasons ago.

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Elliorr Bennett of Blackburn Rovers and Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough FC in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough FC at Ewood Park on February 17, 2019 in Blackburn, United Kingdom.

(Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

The veteran has found himself in an odd position at Boro with the club refusing to start him as it will trigger an automatic one-year contract extension but still using him regularly as a substitute.

 

After being axed from the starting XI in December, Downing has made eight appearances from the bench as Tony Pulis’ side try to return to the Premier League.

HULL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Middlesbrough at KCOM Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Hull, England.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

With his career entering its twilight, a move for Downing probably wouldn’t be the best idea for the Gers anyway given his age and likely wage demands.

After Steve Davis and Jermain Defoe arrived on sizeable wages without being able to force their way into the starting XI,  the last thing Gerrard’s side is another highly-paid veteran watching from the sidelines.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final:Second Leg match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on May 15, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

There will likely be other interest in Downing – MLS has been mentioned a few times – and there likely won’t be many Rangers fans too upset if the Gers do ‘miss out’ on his signature.

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