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Clause opens door for Downing exit

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Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing is heading for the exit at Middlesbrough due to a bizarre clause in his contract.

Downing will be made available after it emerged that he is entitled to an improved deal at the Championship club if he makes one more start for them.

Downing, who came on as a substitute in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Millwall, currently earns £35,000-a-week but will be given a pay rise if he plays one more match due to a clause in the deal agreed when he re-signed for his hometown club in 2015.

Middlesbrough are battling to lower their wage bill after huge expenditure in the last two years under chairman Steve Gibson and it seems inevitable that Downing, 34, will leave the Riverside Stadium this month, provided a club can be found willing to match his wage demands.

It is understood Downing held talks with the board last week and both parties have agreed that he can leave if an acceptable offer comes in. Boro manager Tony Pulis is working on January signings and has already recruited Rajiv van La Parra on loan from Huddersfield.

Elsewhere, Marko Arnautovic is set to stay at West Ham after a £36m offer to sign him was withdrawn by a Chinese Super League club.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini left him out of Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth, believing the Austrian was not in the right state of mind to play.

Indo Sport