30 year old English winger Stewart Downing joins Championship club Middlesbrough from West Ham United on a four year contract.
— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) July 16, 2015
Middlesbrough will pay West Ham £5.5 million over the next three years, according to reports, with the fee jumping to £7m if they are promoted to the Premier League.
Downing is returning to his boyhood club after 6 years. He left Middlesbrough in 2009 for a move to Aston Villa and then he moved to Merseyside giants Liverpool and after failing to impress at Anfield he joined the Hammers.
Middlesbrough missed out promotion to the top tier of English football after losing in the play off final against Norwich in May.
The 30-year-old England international played almost 250 games for Boro during an eight-year spell before leaving for Aston Villa in 2009 and will link up with Aitor Karanka’s squad at a pre-season training camp in Marbella.
Downing was left out of the Hammers squad for their Thursday night Europa League second qualifying round clash with Birkirkara and was pictured arriving for a medical with Boro.
“It’s an amazing signing for us. He’s more than just a player,” Karanka told his club’s official website. “Nobody expected him to come here but he wants to be here, and is completely committed to the club and the team.
“He is a very good person and I’m excited to work with him.”
Downing made his Boro debut during the 2001-02 campaign and spent seven further seasons at the Riverside Stadium before earning a £12m move to Aston Villa in July 2009.
Downing, who joined the Hammers in 2013 and made 37 league appearances last season, said there were “other options on the table” but it was “great to be back home”.
He added: “I always said I wanted to come back to this club. I didn’t put a time limit on it, but now the circumstances are right.
“It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I could help us get back into the Premier League.”
“If I stayed at West Ham, the aim would be to try and push into the top half of the table. Last season went pretty well for the club and we finished 12th, next season the aim will be to improve on that.
“Had I gone to another Premier League club from West Ham, the targets would be similar. But at Boro there’s a chance to achieve something really special.”
Downing has 35 international caps for the Three Lions.