Aston Villa in pole position to sign available PL midfielder - reports
By Dominic Toner
Aston Villa are keen on signing Middlesbrough midfielder Stewart Downing, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claim that Villa manager Steve Bruce is interested in signing the 32-year-old winger as he looks to improve his squad in January.
It is understood that Boro wouldn’t be willing to loan him to a Premier League rival, meaning that Villa would be in pole position to land him.
Sky Sports revealed on their official Twitter account that Downing would be allowed to leave Aitor Karanka’s side on loan until the end of the season.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 9, 2017
The Middlesbrough Gazette claim there is plenty of interest in the former Liverpool player, with offers from Boro’s Premier League rivals as well as China and America likely to be tabled.
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Downing enjoyed a spell with Villa during the earlier stages of his career and left the club in 2011 for Villa.
The left winger made 79 appearances for the Midlands giants and has since played for Liverpool and Boro.
He is currently enduring a frustrating season with Boro and he has scored just once in 19 appearances.
Downing was a regular feature in the starting XI at the beginning of the campaign, but has been used more sparingly in the past month.
Football Insider verdict:
Villa should try and wrap up a deal for Downing this January as he could help them get into the play-off picture. Bruce’s side are currently 12th in the table and seven points adrift of the play-off places, but could still make up the ground with some big signings. Downing would certainly fit the bill and wouldn’t need time to settle into familiar surroundings. The Englishman would certainly prove to be a quality player in the Championship and he helped Boro achieve promotion last season. He missed just one league game last season as Boro finished second in the Championship. Villa’s main problem this season has been in front of goal and they are missing a creative threat. Downing could be their playmaker and help improve a poor tally of 26 goals in 25 games.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are ready to make a seven-figure bid for a teenager and are optimistic of their chances.