West Ham eager to sign Stewart Downing from Liverpool for £6m

West Ham United are close to agreeing a potential £6m deal with Liverpool for Stewart Downing but face a challenge to persuade the England international to leave Anfield for Upton Park.

Downing gave short shrift to the idea of joining West Ham when they first made an approach last month. "It's not something I am going to consider," said the winger, whom Liverpool signed for £20m from Aston Villa two years ago.

But Liverpool are now known to be prepared to take a massive loss on Downing, who has two years remaining on an £80,000-a-week contract, and that has encouraged West Ham to enter negotiations with Anfield officials. Newcastle United have also made tentative inquiries about taking the Middlesbrough-born player back to the north-east but have other transfer priorities at present.

The Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing has completed a permanent transfer to Bolton Wanderers, where he enjoyed a successful loan spell last season.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Andy Hunter, for theguardian.com on Friday 9th August 2013 22.30 Europe/London

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