New boss Slaven Bilic has agreed to sell the midfielder to Middlesbrough, but is he being a little hasty?
The midfielder was in fine form under Sam Allardyce during the 2014/15 campaign, with the England international moved into a more central role than what he has previously been accustomed to.
That decision proved to be a masterstroke, with Downing arguably enjoying some of the finest form of his career as he became the focal point of a midfield diamond and flourished in the role, with six goals and eight assists across the season.
So are the Hammers being a bit hasty in selling him ahead of the new season? We decided to compare his stats from last season with fellow midfielders to see just how big a role he played.
|Season||Goals||Goal Assist||Ontarget Att Assist||Total Final Third Passes||Successful Final Third Passes||Final|
Downing delivered more goals and more assists that those alongside him last season, underlining his value to the cause.
His number of on target attempted assists was also higher than Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble and Alexandre Song’s totals combined, while his passing success rate was only bettered by Noble, and that was by 1%.
He was also the most accurate passer at the business end of the pitch, enjoying a final third pass success rate of 78%, with Noble his nearest rival with a tally of 74%.
While he would be facing increased competition next term from the likes of Dimitri Payet and Pedro Obiang, his stats from last season suggest that he would have been pushing for a first-team place.
Given that Slaven Bilic has been brought in to play a more attacking brand of football, next season could have been a real opportunity for Downing to shine at Upton Park. Instead, Middlesbrough will be hoping that he can replicate his performances from last season for them in the Championship and spark a push for promotion back to the Premier League.