Surprisingly, Gary Monk has told Stewart Downing that he can leave Middlesborough even with them chasing promotion back to the premier league. With one Stewart (Greg) leaving to go on loan to Aberdeen, another one may join – Stewart Downing himself. However, even though Birmingham are one of the favourites to sign the attacking midfielder, newly promoted Brighton Hove Albion are also interested and could provide tough competition for his signature.
So, the question is what Stewart Downing could bring to the Birmingham line up. Even with his advancing age he still easily has enough tactical ability and quality to perform in the championship and this, coupled with his experience of the premier league with clubs such as as Middlesborough, the vile, Liverpool, West Ham and most recently his second stint again at Middlesborough. With this, he will add to the premier league experience already in the squad with the likes of Craig Gardener and Lukas Jutkiewicz, where most of the squad haven’t yet had the experience of the English top flight. With his international caps he will also add to the wealth of already existing international experience within the squad with the likes of Gleeson, Maghoma and Nsué for example.
Additionally, with very little going in the way of natural wingers within the team, Downing can provide an option for both wings within the starting line-up, if Redknapp decides to play a formation such as 4-3-3 wide. But he has also previously operated as a central attacking midfielder, a position that can be used in many other formations so Harry is not limited with his choices.
On top of both the experience and knowledge he brings to the team, and the positions that he can play he will also be an educational figure for the younger players within the first team and the development squad. Due to having a lengthy career in the top flight as well as international caps to boot, he may be an additional asset to what he can bring on the field and could help in the development and upbringing of the younger players and have impact on starlets for the near future and beyond.
Even with his advancing age at 32 and coming to the end of his career, I believe that bringing him in on a free would be beneficial to the team and even if he isn’t playing week in week out he will be bringing positives behind the scenes. Again, it’s not like recent seasons where the wage expenditure needed to be stringently controlled. But that also doesn’t mean Harry should be frivolous, not throwing ridiculous amounts of money at players like Downing just to attract them to the club.
With rumours of Frei, would Downing be a suitable replacement? Let us know what you think below!