According to reports from the Guardian, Liverpool could be prepared to sell winger Stewart Downing for as little as £5million.
The 29-year-old’s future at Anfield has been in doubt since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside last summer.
The England international is set for talks with Liverpool boss Rodgers about his future in the next week or so.
Downing started to produce some decent performances in the second half of last season, but is still not considered an important player for the Reds.
The Middlesbrough-born winger is being linked with a £5million move to Newcastle by the Guardian. The Magpies have been quiet in the transfer market this summer so far. Their only capture being that of QPR striker Loic Remy on a season-long loan.
It seems that Magpies boss Alan Pardew sees Downing as a potential good addition to his squad. Whether the player would be seen as a good signing by the fans is another question completely.
Stewart Downing cost Liverpool £20million when he arrived from Aston Villa in the summer of 2011. I am no maths expert, but the Reds could lose £15million on the player if he is sold this summer. Villa managed to get an inflated fee for Downing just because he is English.
The same applied to a number of the players that arrived under Reds legend Kenny Dalglish. The Scot tried to bring in British players and it cost the club an absolute fortune. The likes of Downing, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll all arrived for big fees under Dalglish.
Carroll has since been sold on at a big loss, Henderson showed some promise in his performances towards the end of last season and it now looks like Downing could be moved on this summer.
Stewart Downing is a good player and he has showed that in sporadic periods of his career. However, in his first season at Anfield he produced zero assists and zero goals. Not exactly what Liverpool fans would have expected from such an expensive acquisition.
Those results would have been disappointing for a £2million player, never mind a £20million player. He did produce more last season though, as Rodgers gave him a chance to impress.
In many ways Downing is a victim of his price tag. People questioned his price tag when he joined the Reds and he was heavily overvalued, as most British players are in the current market.
Had he arrived for £5million in the first place Liverpool fans would maybe have not criticised his performances so much. The price tag was always going to be too much for him to live up to at Anfield.
It is believed that both Downing and Rodgers are happy for the player to stay at Anfield, but that situation could change if Downing is not playing first team football. The Liverpool boss has been actively seeking attacking reinforcements this summer.
Should Rodgers bring in new players then the Reds may then listen to offers from elsewhere, with West Ham also believed to be tracking the former-Middlesbrough star.
Despite declarations of happiness at Liverpool, I suspect that Downing is weighed down by that massive price tag. A move elsewhere would erase that burden. I am sure he could live with a £5million price tag.
Stewart Downing knows that he needs to be playing and in-form to have any chance of making the England squad for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil. He may not be a fans favourite, but Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson seems to rate him highly.
Stewart Downing is typical of the sort of player English football has produced in recent years. He is a decent, hardworking player. However, he is not quite top quality. Downing is a decent crosser of the ball and has good pace.
Put him up against truly world-class players though and he would be out of his depth. That is no fault of his own, just a simple case of him not being good enough at the very top level.
I think Stewart Downing moving on this summer is very likely and it would probably be the best solution for both player and club. The winger will never be fully appreciated at Anfield, because of the price tag.
From Liverpool’s point of view they may lose £15million on the sale of Downing, but they would also lose his £80,000 a week wage off the wage bill. That wage could help sign a player that Liverpool actually wants.
Stewart Downing and Liverpool were never going to me a match made in heaven. It seems that two could go their separate ways this summer and it is probably for the best for both parties.
Could Stewart Downing leave Liverpool this summer?