Report: Middlesbrough close in on Stewart Downing, as West Ham accept deal in principal

The West Ham midfielder looks one step closer to a Middlesbrough return.

Downing appears to be closing in on a return to boyhood club Middlesbrough, according to a report in the Gazette.

The midfielder, who impressed for the first half of last season playing as a number 10, has been linked with an exit from the Boleyn Ground for much of this summer. Due to the quality of player being signed by the Hammers, Downing would find his first-team role limited next term, and although Premier League sides have shown an interest in him, Middlesbrough look set to secure his signature.

The 31-year-old was left out of Slaven Bilic’s pre-season squad for the friendly draw with Peterborough at the weekend, and he also missed the 4-0 aggregate victory over Lusitans in the Europea League.

His exit from East London looks to be edging closer, and the latest report suggests a deal is just days away from being formalised.

Both clubs are still working on the details of the deal, but it is stated that both have ‘agreed in principle’ to see Downing move to Teesside. It is also believed that personal terms have been agreed between Boro and Downing, and Bilic is ready to sanction his exit as soon as possible.

It appears as if Downing will be turning out at the Riverside next season, and in a deal that suits all parties involved, Boro are building a formidable team in their attempts to get back into the Premier League.

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