Reports from Birmingham Live recently came out that Rangers were interested in signing Middlesbrough’s winger Stewart Downing in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, Rangers have some competition to ward off as the Northern Echo claims that Sunderland would be keen on this 35 time England international if they gain promotion to the Championship.
Sunderland currently occupies the fourth spot, but they have two games in hand over their other rivals. Therefore they are still one of the favourites to qualify through the direct promotion spot. We for once think that Rangers should let Sunderland have this signing as Downing is way past his prime and Rangers already have plenty of options in the wide region.
Even Downing’s form in the Championship this season doesn’t make a case for him. Moreover, Rangers haven’t had much success by signing players who are past their prime. Gareth McAuley and Steven Davis have struggled to get going, and Rangers would be better off avoiding Downing.
The former Liverpool player is currently in a contract standoff with the Teessiders. If the 34-year-old makes one more start, a year-long extension will be triggered. Boro wants to get Downing off their wage bill, and as a result, the winger hasn’t started since December. But Tony Pulis has continued to use him as a substitute and sometimes even brought him on before the half-hour mark.
Downing will soon be 35 and Rangers need to make sure that they don’t end up becoming the retirement home for individual players. The former club and country teammate of Gerrard might have plenty of experience under his belt, but we don’t see him making much impact at Ibrox.
Moreover, Rangers have enough depth in the wide areas, and someone like Jamie Murphy would also become available in the next season after he suffered a season-ending injury last August. Gerrard has also secured the signature of Jordan Jones from Kilmarnock.
To go with that, they are heavily touted to sign Motherwell’s special talent Jake Hastie who is also a winger. Therefore wide position is one of the areas where Gerrard doesn’t need to think about making any signings in the summer. Downing though is a versatile player and he can play in various roles. His versatility is probably the only case we can make for him but all in all, Gerrard should let this signing slip away to Sunderland (no slip puns intended).