The 30-year-old returned to Middlesbrough after leaving West Ham on Thursday night.
Downing enjoyed a fine first half of the season last term after a rejuvenation in central midfield under Sam Allardyce. Like most of the Hammers squad, however, the midfield man saw a dip in performance levels later on.
The arrival of Dimitri Payet at Upton Park has also increased competition for places significantly and Downing's departure may well make way for further signings at West Ham.
Higginbotham, however, who used to turn out for Manchester United and Stoke City and is now a pundit and commentator, reacted on Twitter with shock and surprise. He feels Middlesbrough have landed one of West Ham's most impressive performers from last season and his tone perhaps suggests he feels the east London side should not have sold.
Got to say @Boro have got a fantastic signing in Downing. Was one of West Ham's best players last season. Amazed they were able to get him— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) July 16, 2015
As the Daily Mail suggest, it is believed Downing's wage will double from £35,000 to £70,000 per week if Middlesbrough earn promotion to the Premier League next season.
Could this, then, actually be a case of West Ham, Downing and Middlesbrough all being winners...?