Sunderland are one of several English clubs interested in signing Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing in the summer, if the player is not offered an extension to his current deal at the Riverside.
Scottish giants Rangers are also credited with an interest, as well as possible overseas interest, according to a report in the Northern Echo.
At 34-years-old, the player could be offered an extension to his current deal, which will automatically be triggered if he makes just one more Boro’ start.
It is a strange situation, as the player has not made the starting lineup since 29 December, which suggests that the club are reluctant to trigger the extension clause.
The irony is how this is playing out at a Boro’ side that is struggling to win games, and the winger’s creativity is exactly what the Teessiders crave.
But his contract situation could play into Sunderland’s hands, with the player wanting to remain in the North East, with Sunderland the only viable option for that, away from the Riverside.
It is hard to think that Sunderland fans would be rushing to buy season tickets at the thought of Downing’s arrival, but if you look deeper into the move, we think it could be a good deal.
Should the Wearsiders achieve promotion, they will need guile and experience from players that have played in, what is widely regarded as, the most difficult and competitive division in football.
Downing, who is valued at £1.8 million (by Transfermarkt), could provide that, and if he is felt wanted by the club — which he is not feeling 25 miles further down the A19 — he could provide exactly what they need.
As much as Sunderland fans may not want to hear this, when back in the Championship, their club needs to take a leaf out of their neighbours’ book.
Newcastle, under Rafa Benitez, built a squad that would ensure they got out of the division. Many of the players brought in were never going to be good enough for the Premier League, but that was irrelevant.
Promotion was the goal, the next season could look after itself when it happened.
That is exactly what Sunderland need to do. And Stewart Downing would fall into that category perfectly.
Football is a ruthless sport, at times, and Jack Ross needs to exploit that.
Of course, it all relies on his side going up this year. Something that failure to do could prove catastrophic for the famous old club.
What do you think about a swoop for Stewart Downing Sunderland fans? Is he the type of player you need to see you through a Championship campaign? Will you be a Championship team next year? Let us know your opinion…
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience