Sunderland have been linked with a move to sign Downing this summer, as per the Daily Mail, but a new report in the Chronicle has suggested that the Black Cats are looking for a transfer philosophy which will rule out a move for him.
The former Middlesbrough star, 31, will likely cost upwards of £6 million to prise away from the Boleyn Ground - as per the Mail story - and the Chronicle report suggests that Sunderland are looking to sign value for money in this transfer window.
This must surely rule out a move for Downing, as the English international is not the type of player who offers value for money considering his age and relative cost.
Being 31, Downing is already on the downturn of his career, and showed during the 2014/15 campaign that, whilst he has quality, he cannot play at the top level for the entire campaign.
If paying £6 million for a player, Sunderland are going to want someone who can turn out consistently well for an entire season, with potential resale value on top of that.
Downing offers neither of those traits, and if signed he would be more expensive than both of Sunderland’s current signings - who are young and represent an investment.
It was always strange to see Sunderland show an interest in the Hammers star this summer, considering the price he could demand in relation to his age, and the latest report concerning the Black Cats’ transfer philosophy seems to end any chance of Downing turning out at the Stadium of Light next term.