Middlesbrough have reportedly decided to release experienced English footballer Stewart Downing from the squad as new manager Garry Monk buckles up for a highly anticipated season. The 32-year-old would be available on a free transfer this summer.
The player still had two years led to his contract, which makes him a real catch for any side in either tier of English football. The Boro man returned to his hometown in the summer of 2015 for a £5.5 million deal and helped the club gain promotion immediately.
However, his fallout with former manager Aitor Karanka did effect his first team actions and things haven’t looked good since then. Boro have, however, said that the decision was mutual and completely amicable and the player would surely find a good club in the summer.
Downing managed to get a decent 30 league games under his belt last season, scoring once and assisting thrice from the wings. He also had an FA Cup goal, which was Boro’s only goal against Accrington Stanley in the fourth round of the competition.
Despite Boro’s poor attacking figures last season, Downing did produce some good displays in the attacking third for them. He created 29 chances, completed 755 passes with a passing accuracy of 82%. He would bring tonnes of experience to whichever side he goes given his immense experience in the Premier League.
He has played over 400 games scoring 37 goals and assisting 48 times in the process. He even has 35 caps in national colours. Here are 3 clubs who can go for him-
Huddersfield Town- Of course, the Terriers would be more than happy to get him at AMEX Stadium. David Wagner is mostly scouting second tier players from other countries to beef up his squad and someone with such huge top-level experience could be a lottery for them. Having someone who has played for clubs like Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United could be a real catch for them. Although his wage could be a problem, Downing is expected to take a cut now for sure.
Crystal Palace- The Eagles were linked with the winger last winter itself and now with him available, the London side can make a move now. With Andros Townsend and Wilfred Zaha on the flanks, Downing’s addition could be a decent one on the bench. With a centre forward like Christian Benteke at the centre, Downing’s deliveries would be effective.
Brighton & Hove Albion- The Seagulls are already behind Newcastle financially in the transfer market, which means they are missing out on the cream crop. Downing’s addition would be a blessing for them and under experience manager Chris Hughton, Downing might have one last big season left in him as well.