According to reports, Birmingham City are closing in on a move for Middlesbrough’s veteran Stewart Downing as Harry Redknapp eyes to bring in more reinforcements up front ahead of next season. The English manager has been a long-term admirer of the winger since he was the manager of Tottenham Hotspur and he might just finally get his wish granted this time.
Following the Blues’ poor season in the Championship last season, the club has decided to make numerous changes both in the squad as well as at the administrative level. And one of the biggest concerns for Birmingham, following last season’s display, would be their attack. They could score only 45 goals last term and Redknapp is desperate to improve that figure next term.
Birmingham are yet to get any sort of reinforcements whatsoever. Except for the return of secondary striker Diego Fabbrini who was on loan from Italian side Spezia Calcio and centre forward Nicolai Brock-Madsen from PEC Zwolle, Redknapp has last season’s flops Lukas Jutkiewicz and Che Adams.
Downing would be a quality addition undoubtedly given his tremendous experience at both the tiers of English football. He has over 450 league appearances and has earned 35 caps for the Three Lions. And Boro’s former manager Aitor Karanka didn’t quite appreciate his abilities. His rift with the manager was known even before the Teessiders kicked off their Premier League campaign in 2016.
While he had a series of regular starts in the initial stages of the season quite surprisingly with the manager even praising him, he soon had to give way to Gaston Ramirez. Karanka had cited tactical reasons for it and his team was falling apart.
By January he was a full-time bench player and Karanka had to step down. New manager Agnew made him a starter instantly and he did well again, which included a lovely cross against Arsenal that was converted by Alvaro Negredo. He was more regular in the last 11 games, but his topsy-turvy career at his boyhood club has been enough to seek chances elsewhere.
New boss Garry Monk has been much more straight forward as he had sat with him and advised him to look for new clubs. The meeting had also ended on good terms apparently. Downing has been with the squad in the pre-season matches and also featured in a game in Portugal.
However, he is more than likely to see off Boro this summer with Redknapp his next expected manager. And his superior technique and experience could also see him take a central role in the midfield.
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