The transfer of winger Stewart Downing to West Ham has been met with joy from both sets of supporters of the clubs involved. Liverpool fans are glad to be finally moving on a player who did not justify his hefty £20 million price tag, whereas West Ham supporters are delighted to be welcoming a senior England international to Upton Park for as little as five million pounds.
There are three reasons that Downing can be a success at West Ham:
1. Lack of Pressure
The big money move to Liverpool was Downing’s first experience at a truly ‘big’ club and it is safe to say that it was not a success. The English winger was unable to replicate his previous form for Aston Villa and live up to the money spent on him. Following a string of average performances coupled with a lack of goals Downing was told he could leave the club in December, being deemed surplus to requirements (Source: BBC).
Fast forward to this summer and after penning a new contract at West Ham there is not the same weight of expectation that greeted Downing when he arrived at Anfield. For the first time since departing Villa, Downing is a key member of a squad and can expect to be one of the first names on the teamsheet. This alone should allow him to reproduce the form that earned him a move to Merseyside back in 2011.
2. Playing Style
During his time at Aston Villa Downing became widely known as one of the finest crossers in the country. This is because as well as being one of his finest assets, it was an integral part of the teams playing style under manager Martin O’Neill. This was not the case at Liverpool, with a much bigger emphasis on maintaining possession and looking to bring the central midfielders into play.
At West Ham Downing will once again be encouraged to frequently cross the ball and will be playing in a system much more suited to his playing style. This new approach will be utilised in tandem with Andy Carroll, another player who failed to shine at Anfield but has been a huge success at Upton Park. The main reason for Carroll’s success has been that the playing style of Sam Allardyce suits him much better than that of Brendan Rodgers and the same can be said for Downing who should thrive in East London.
3. Downing Has The Quality
You do not earn 34 senior caps for England if you’re not a quality player, and whilst it didn’t work out for Downing at Liverpool he is undoubtedly still an asset for any mid-table Premier League team. Both at Middlesbrough and Aston Villa the winger was highly rated, earning two transfers which together total over £30 million. If his previous form in claret and blue can be rediscovered, signing him for £5 million will be seen as a major coup for the Hammers.
Andy Carroll’s statement that Downing was a great signing for the club as well as a bargain speaks volumes. Carroll is the main man at West Ham and this sign of approval clearly shows that he is looking forward linking up with his former teammate and profiting from his excellent crossing. With Jarvis on one side and Downing on the other West Ham can now boast two fine crossers of the ball – the perfect formula for any successful Allardyce team.
You can follow Ross McCutcheon on twitter @RossMcCutcheon
ThisisFutbol.com are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “email@example.com” to learn more.