The 30-year-old winger’s future at the Hammers has been thrown up in the air in recent days following Dimitri Payet’s arrival from French club Marseille.
Yet, it is Sunderland who appear to be leading the race with boss Dick Advocaat desperate to add some attacking quality to his squad this summer.
“Stewart Downing is edging closer to a move back north. The West Ham winger has served notice on his house in the south and is a target for Sunderland,” the report in The Sun states.
Which club would be the best option for Stewart Downing?
Despite Boro’s intentions, Downing is far too good of a player to drop down to the Championship and a move to a northern Premier League side appears very much on the cards.
Leicester are a solid choice, with the Foxes showing plenty of ambition this summer to build on their momentum towards the end of the previous campaign and establish themselves this season.
Yet the North East duo are arguably the biggest pull, notably Sunderland who appear a little more steady than their neighbours Newcastle and have a team crying out for ball-carrying attacking players.
The Black Cats would arguably see Downing as an essential attacking outlet, a player they would look to feed the ball to as often as possible due to their lack of creativity and ball-carriers in the final third.