Kop and Gunners on alert as Downing rejects new Villa deal
Published 09:42 26/05/11 By MirrorFootball
Arsenal and Liverpool are on alert after Stewart Downing refused to extend his Aston Villa contract.
The Midlands club wanted to tie the winger down to a new long-term deal despite the fact that he has two years remaining on his current pact with the club.
But Downing dashed those hopes and increased the likelihood of him quitting Villa Park this summer when he said: "I am 26, and at a major crossroads in my career, so I won't be committing to a new deal at the moment.
"I know the club are keen for me to extend my contract as I only have two years left on my deal.
"My agent (Struan Marshall) had a recent meeting with our chief executive (Paul Faulkner)."
Downing was arguably Villa's best player last season but is hankering after Champions League football and will not be encouraged by the uncertainty over Gerard Houllier's return - or by stories linking Ashley Young with Manchester United and Manchester City.
He said: "I want to keep playing and enjoying my football. When I was injured that made me realise what it can be like to be out for such a long time.
"It hurt. The most important thing is to play football, but I do want to play in the Champions League at some point."