By 90Min
July 19, 2017

​New Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk has been quick to stamp his authority at his new club, and has apparently made it clear that fan favourite and local boy Stewart Downing can leave the club.

Despite having two more years left on his contract, it's possible that the 32-year-old winger will look for a move away from the Riverside in the search for more first team football, ​The Northern Echo reported on Friday.

The Middlesbrough born and raised winger has enjoyed his previous two seasons at the club, providing key experience and influence in their promotion winning Championship season of 2015/16 and throughout the following Premier League season.

The fans took to him fondly, as he is one of their own, but with Monk's appointment it appears as though his time has come.

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Middlesbrough players celebrate their promotion to the Premier League after the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Riverside Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/GettyImages

This leaves Downing with a few options regarding his next career move, including Chris Hughton's Premier League new boys, Brighton & Hove Albion.

Hughton is reportedly an admirer of Downing and, in the search to add some valuable Premier League experience to his squad, a player like Downing could be an opportunity too good to miss. 

The fact he would be on a free transfer makes the offer even more enticing as it would allow teams such as Brighton to afford to offer more competitive wages.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: Chris Hughton, manager of Brighton and Hove Albion applauds the fans after the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Bristol City at Amex Stadium on April 29, 2017 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

However, Downing could also choose to swap life at the Riverside for a transfer to the US, a move which almost fabricated in January. This is something Downing has reportedly been interested in before so a move to Major League Soccer (MLS) would not be surprising.

If Downing preferred to remain in England, there are reportedly more clubs interested in the winger as well as Brighton, including Birmingham and Sunderland who would be looking to strengthen their sides in pursuit of Premier League football.

Despite this, he does still have another two years on his contract and, if no deal can be made to suit all parties regarding his contract and wages, he may choose to remain at his boyhood club and town.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough celebrates scoring his penalty in the penalty shoot out during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on October 28, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Downing will return with the rest of the squad to pre-season training next week, no doubt with a lot to think about and consider regarding his future.

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