He said: “I felt it was a good time to come back. I had a good offer to come here and the security it would bring me. The clubs in the Premier League [who showed interest] were no better than West Ham.
“It might be mid table football with nothing to play for. Sunderland were the first to make an offer to West Ham, but as soon as I spoke to Middlesbrough that faded away.”
According to Downing, Sunderland could only offer him mid-table football, and he preferred to move to Boro to become part of a team which will win something.
Whilst wise in the short term, with the Teesside club one of the favourites to win promotion from the Championship next term, surely after that they can get no better than Sunderland.
They will be one of those mid-table teams that Downing has indicated he did not want to sign for, and will likely spend time in the Premier League fighting off relegation.
The romantic side of the move - moving back to his boyhood club in a lower division despite top flight interest - is good to see, but Downing’s claims about mid-table football do not really add up.
Leaving West Ham came at the right time for the winger, with first-team chances likely to be limited this coming campaign at the Boleyn Ground, and Downing has opted for potential success over struggling in the Premier League - even though that is what Middlesbrough will want to aim for in the future.