Is this proof West Ham are crazy to let Stewart Downing go?

Baines, Downing, Rooney and Henderson England

The winger is expected to rejoin his hometown club Middlesbrough this week.

As Middlesbrough reportedly move closer to signing former hero Stewart Downing from West Ham, according to BBC Sport, there is one clear statistic that emphasises just how much of a coup signing the England winger would be for Aitor Karanka.

BBC Sport say the player is in discussions about a move back to the Riverside today despite the 30-year-old ending up having one of his best ever seasons last year, in what looks like being his final campaign with West Ham.

Downing scored 6 goals and assisted 8 times in the league, with the Hammers in particularly good form in the first half of the season.

It saw the winger recalled to the England side for the first time in two years.

And the player's creativity in front of goal ended up being one of the best in the entire division, as no English player forged more goalscoring chances than the former Aston Villa player.

  PositionTeamTotal Att AssistBig Chance CreatedGoal AssistAppearancesMins Played
Stewart Downing MF West Ham 85 7 8 37 3313

In fact, Downing was fourth in the entire league for creating chances, only behind Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas and Manchester City's David Silva. Considering those three players are perceived as among the best midfielders in the Premier League, Downing deserves some credit for his ability to craft opportunities for his teammates, especially when you compare West Ham's position to that of Chelsea and City.

Which is why the Hammers faithful may be questioning the logic in letting their player return to his old club, and why Middlesbrough fans should be amazed that they manage to sign someone of such obvious top flight quality.

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