According to the latest reports from Northern Echo as cited by Crawley Observer, Stewart Downing is set to prefer a move to English club Sunderland rather than Rangers. Reports had emerged in the last few days that Steven Gerrard was looking to make a move for his former country and club team-mate in the summer.
Downing is currently plying his trade for Middlesbrough and is in a contract standoff with them. If the winger goes on to make one more start, a year-long extension in his contract would be triggered. Therefore, since December, Tony Pulis has only used this 35 time England international as a substitute.
It is believed that Boro are keen to get Downing off their wage bill, so we don’t expect the Championship side to trigger an extension by giving him a start.
That means Rangers and other potential clubs can sign the former Liverpool player for free in the summer and Sunderland are said to be interested if they move to the Championship. The Black Cats currently occupy the fourth spot on the table, but they have some game in hands over their other rivals. Therefore there is a decent chance of them moving back to the English second tier.
It is believed that the 34-year-old wants to stay near his North-East home for family reasons and that is the major reason why he would rather prefer moving to the Wearside than to Glasgow. To be fair, this can turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Bears as Downing would be a very unnecessary signing.
Downing would soon be 35 and his performance in the Championship this season hasn’t been much to talk about as he has managed just two goals and one assist in 32 games this season. Rangers don’t need to add another veteran at their disposal as they haven’t had much success by bringing in the likes of Steven Davis and Gareth McAuley earlier.
Moreover, the Bears have plenty of depth in the wide department and especially on the left wing where Downing predominantly plays. Jordan Jones is also going to join Ibrox in the summer and moving in for Downing who is past his prime doesn’t make sense.
The 34-year-old might be able to do a job and his versatility to play in different positions can come in handy on occasions. However, the winger isn’t good enough to win matches on his own and Rangers should be happy to see him move to Sunderland after the latest reports.