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.
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