Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) July 16, 2015
West Ham have confirmed on their official website that midfielder Stewart Downing has left the club in order to re-join Middlesbrough.
Downing, 30, was not only born in Middlesbrough but started his career with the club, making well over 200 appearances for Boro before moving on to Aston Villa, Liverpool and eventually West Ham.
The England international enjoyed a productive campaign last season, hitting six goals in 37 games, playing mostly in a central attacking midfield role despite spending his entire career as a winger.
Surprisingly, Downing has now taken the decision to leave West Ham - despite that great season - in order to return to his boyhood club Middlesbrough in a heart-warming, interesting move.
Aitor Karanka's men lost the Championship play-off final in May, meaning they remain one division below West Ham - and Downing's move down a division has certainly turned some heads.
West Ham fans on Twitter aren't sure what to think, with some fans admitting that they are gutted to see Downing leave after his impressive displays last season, whilst over are happy to see him get his move back to the club he supports.
Here are some of the reactions from West Ham fans on Twitter after Downing completed his shock return to Middlesbrough...
Bit gutted Downing has gone understand wanting to go back to his club but it's a big season for the club could have given it a year #whufc— Connor Costello (@costellojourno) July 16, 2015
Huge respect for Stewart Downing, did a great job for us at #WHUFC. You can't dislike a guy who takes a pay cut to go to his hometown club.— Luke Boarer (@Luke_Boarer) July 16, 2015
The fact everyone seems to think Stewart Downing was one of our best players last year really shows the ambition of the club. #WHUFC— LEE CH/\RLES (@leecharlesmusic) July 16, 2015
So we sell Downing (IMHO a very good player) and keep Jarvis (IMHO even worse than Mark Noble). Strange days indeed. #whufc— 97MDE (@97MDE) July 16, 2015