Liverpool’s influx of attacking arrivals has seemingly spelled the end of Stewart Downing’s Anfield career, with the Reds reportedly offering the England winger to Newcastle on the cheap.
Loic Remy is the Toon’s only notable acquisition of the summer so far and their transfer market shortcomings have been subject to frequent documentation in the media. This, however, doesn’t appear to have had a negative effect on their Premier League relegation price, which remains a relatively lofty 9/1.
That perceivably would stretch further if they can complete a deal for Downing, with the wide berths one of the areas in which they must improve.
A price of £5m is believed to be all it would take to convince Liverpool to sell, meaning they’re prepared to take a £15m loss on what they paid Aston Villa for his services just two seasons back.
Genuine wide players are at a premium on Tyneside. Hatem Ben Arfa is more inclined to cut inside from the touchline, while Jonas Gutierrez had probably his worst season under Newcastle’s employ last term. Both are different players to their prospective new teammate, who could provide a more direct form of service for Papiss Cisse.
If north east native Downing can rediscover his Middlesbrough and Villa form at St James’ Park, where he won’t be as marginalised as he has been at Anfield, he could easily prove to be one of the signings of the summer.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are expected to make a much sterner challenge to break back into the top four this season – a feat they’re priced at 13/8 to achieve with Ladbrokes – and the Northern Irishman has made no secret of the fact that the 29-year-old isn’t of the calibre of player he requires to take the club forward, often utilising him in a bizarre left back capacity last season.
When he’s on form, there are few better left wingers in the country and, if he can rediscover his best at Newcastle, this will be a monster coup for Joe Kinnear and the Toon Army.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date