Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has explained how he is still puzzled by West ham United’s sale of Stewart Downing, writing in his blog for the Daily Mail that he doesn’t understand the decision.
Considering how effective he was at West Ham under former boss Sam Allardyce and his evident Premier League ability, Keown admits the deal baffles him both from a club and player perspective.
“Generally West Ham did not lose too much with their outgoings but I must say the sale of Stewart Downing to Middlesbrough is a deal I just don’t understand,” he explained in the Daily Mail.
“It was not so long ago that we were praising him and the influence he was having. He has been outstanding in recent seasons and though I’m sure he’s happy to be back ‘home’ at Middlesbrough, he should want to play in the Premier League for as long as possible.”
Downing netted six times and added a further eight assists in 37 league matches last season, a record comparable with the very best attacking players in England.
Aside from having clear ability to remain in the top-flight, on his departure the 31-year-old left West Ham in a bit of pickle as they began the campaign without any recognised quality wide men.
Their compact diamond formation may have worked well at Arsenal and Liverpool, but their lack of width has seen them come unstuck in East London when the onus has been on them to attack.
Downing’s decision to re-join Boro is a nice touch, but from a sporting perspective one can only suggest it will only be deemed a sensible decision if the Teesside outfit win promotion this season.