West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has continued to trawl through Liverpool’s squad looking for bargains, and has seen a £5 million deal for midfielder Stewart Downing accepted by the Reds.
It is the second player that the Hammers have signed from Liverpool during the summer transfer window after securing Andy Carroll for a cut-price £15 million, making last season’s loan deal a permanent arrangement. Both deals represent quite a financial hit for the Reds, who paid a combined fee of around £55 million for the two players under Kenny Dalglish in 2011.
However, the acquisition of both these players, in particular today’s deal for Downing, represents a superb bit of business by West Ham as they prepare for the new Premier League season.
The midfielder has made 34 appearances for the England national team and was in their squad for Euro 2012. He has also been in preseason training with Liverpool, so he will not need to work on his fitness very much at all as he might have had to were this transfer to have gone through in January.
Also, his age is definitely a big advantage. At 29-years old, Downing could potentially play in the top-flight for the next five or six years, despite some injury problems during his career.
Meanwhile, the fact that he was told last season by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers that he did not feature in the club’s plans, only to force his way back into the reckoning, shows that Downing has a great deal of character. That character will be a big asset for West Ham and manager Sam Allardyce.
Downing is a great signing by the Hammers as they prepare for the new Premier League season, and is a player with plenty still to offer in England’s top tier.