Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb has told Tottenham to forget about signing Stewart Downing. Reacting to speculation Boro had rejected a third bid amounting to £14.5million (Dh76.7m) , Lamb said: "We again reiterate that no senior players will be leaving this football club during January. That is the end of the matter. "Any ongoing media speculation is therefore meaningless, and we will not continue to respond to it." Whether that is indeed the end of the matter remains to be seen, although Spurs are now understood to be considering other options in the belief Boro are unlikely to soften their stance. That will come as a blow to Downing, who has held several rounds of talks with the club's hierarchy since his written transfer request was rejected on Monday.
Meanwhile Stoke City are close to making West Ham winger Matthew Etherington their first signing of the January transfer window for an undisclosed fee. Etherington, 27, is expected to sign a three-year deal at the Britannia Stadium. *With Agencies