BLACKBURN have won the race to land Stewart Downing.

The Northern Echo understands he has been weighing up all of his options and, amid interest from elsewhere, Downing has agreed to play for former Middlesbrough captain and manager Tony Mowbray.

The 34-year-old, who turns 35 in July, wants to carry on playing and Mowbray has spoken highly about him after talks. The Middlesbrough winger was set to become a free agent when his contract expires on June 30.

There is known to have been interest on him from Sunderland, the United States and abroad, while Sheffield Wednesday have also been credited with being keen.

But Mowbray is on the verge of winning the battle to secure his services for next season.

The move will bring to an end Downing’s second spell at Middlesbrough, where he graduated through the club’s academy before then moving on to Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham United.

The former England man returned to the Riverside in 2015 and made a further 150 appearances in the Championship and Premier League.

Middlesbrough confirmed earlier this month that he had not been offered a new contract.

Goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos was the other long serving player whose contract has not been renewed at this stage, while Andy Lonergan and John Obi Mikel’s deals expired too.