December 6 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
West Ham have splashed the cash to sign Liverpool’s England international Stewart Downing
West Ham have added to their squad just five days before the start of the new Premier League season by signing England international winger Stewart Downing on a four-year deal.
The Liverpool man passed a medical on Monday night and agreed personal terms before signing in a deal said to be worth around £6 million.
Downing becomes the third Liverpool player to move to Upton Park this year after Joe Cole joined in January and then Andy Carroll made his move south a permanent one in a club record £15.5m deal earlier this summer.
Downing was delighted to agree the deal which ends a torrid two-year spell for the winger at Anfield following his £20m move from Aston Villa.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me being here, it’s a great club and I’m excited to get going.”
Downing is likely to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s opener with Cardiff City with Matt Jarvis likely to play on one wing with Downing on the other.
“I’m ready and I’m fit for the first game against Cardiff City,” he insisted. “I’ve played a decent few games for Liverpool in pre-season, so there will be no problems on that front.
“It all happened so quickly, but I’m really excited and hoping to play a part on Saturday.”
The signing of Downing is something of a risk for West Ham boss Sam Allardyce who has now made five signings during the current transfer window.
Full back Razvan Rat and goalkeeper Adrian arrived on free transfers from Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Betis respectively, while Carroll’s arrival coincided with the signing of young striker Danny Whitehead from Stockport County.
Downing though may be the biggest gamble of all of them.
The 29-year-old looked set for a glittering career after bursting on to the scene at Middlesbrough where he spent eight years before joining Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa in a £10m deal in 2009.
His career carried on an upward path at Villa Park, while he also became a regular in the England squad, but it was his move to Anfield in 2011 that proved a troublesome one for Downing.
He made 91 appearances, scoring seven goals, but his hefty £20 million price tag seemed to weigh heavily on the Middlesbrough-born winger, who scored a stunning free kick for Boro at Upton Park in the FA Cup back in 2009 and then added another in the replay at the Riverside as they dumped the Hammers out of the competition.
He has never found that form at Anfield however and he becomes yet another casualty of the Brendan Rodgers reign at Liverpool, with once again West Ham taking full advantage and adding him to their squad.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce believes that Arsenal have the ability to win the league this season.