New Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish looks set to lose another of his stars this coming week, with Stewart Downing’s departure looking likelier by the day. Despite Liverpool’s initial offer of £15M being rejected, it resulted in Downing declaring that he would not be committing to a new deal at Villa Park.
Throw into the mix Arsenal’s reputed £18M bid, and the resulting increased offer of £18.5M from Liverpool reported by The Daily Mirror today, it looks as if this deal may be resolved sooner rather than later.
Downing told the Northern Echo that “I do want to play in the Champions League at some point” and this could obviously be achieved instantly should the winger have the opportunity to sign for Arsenal, where he could partner new signing Gervinho on the wing. Despite this however, Sky Sports have reported that Downing favours a return to the North, and has set his sights on the move to Liverpool, where Kenny Dalglish hopes to link him up with target man Andy Carroll, in preference to a deal with the Gunners.
Wherever Downing does decide to go, should McLeish and Randy Lerner agree a fee for the midfielder, it leaves McLeish with a big hole to fill, not helped by the recent departure of Ashley Young to Manchester United. Charles N’Zogbia has been rumoured as a possible replacement for Downing, but Villa fans will be hoping that Lerner backs McLeish to add more names to his wanted list, as Villa face the very real possibility of not just losing one of their most influential players from last season in Young, but two, weakening their squad considerably.