Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stew Back at Boro? Here's What We Need to Happen

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stew Back at Boro? Here's What We Need to Happen

Article excerpt

STEWART Downing ripping up defences in the Championship for Boro next season - has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Well, it could happen. It could happen if West Ham accept Boro's bid; it could happen if Boro can find the cash to fund the transfer and his wages; it could happen if a Premier League club doesn't blow Boro's bid out of the water.

What do we know? We know that Boro would like to bring Downing back home ahead of the coming campaign.

We know that the player would welcome the opportunity to come back and play for his hometown team.

We know that Boro need to strengthen in other areas of the pitch, so money is tight.

We know that Financial Fair Play means Steve Gibson has to spend wisely and within budget.

So where does that leave us? The Gazette understands there has been no significant progress in Boro's attempts to sign Downing over the past fortnight.

Sunderland retain strong hopes of buying a player who enjoyed a hugely successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light in 2003 and there's no doubt they can outspend Boro if it comes down to a straight bidding war.

Given a choice, Downing, who has just enjoyed one of the most productive and impressive seasons of his career operating through the middle for the Hammers, would prefer to play for Boro next season and it's fair to say he would like to return to the North-east after six years away from the region.

He'd love to help Boro win promotion and finish his career helping establish the club back in the Premier League.

If, for whatever reason, a deal can't be thrashed out, then a move to Wearside would no doubt be a viable alternative.

He still has a home in Middlesbrough and could easily commute up the A19 to the Academy of Light, the Black Cats' training facility.

Had Boro won at Wembley, Downing would almost certainly be on his way back to Boro by now, providing West Ham agreed to sell him of course. …

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