Why Steve Bruce must make this Premier league signing his priority in January
COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Steve Bruce must do everything he can to bring in Stewart Downing on loan in January because he will provide superb service for the Villa forwards.
The 32-year-old winger is reportedly available and Villa should not turn down the opportunity to bring back their former midfielder as they need his experience and consistency.
The Birmingham Mail reported Bruce has already expressed his interest in Downing after it was believed that Middlesbrough would let the player leave on loan in January.
Downing has made 17 Premier League appearances for Boro this season but only 11 of those have come from the starting XI and the last full game he played was in October against Bournemouth.
He will be craving regular first-team action and Bruce can certainly offer him that as Villa look to mount a serious challenge on the Championship play-off positions.
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Downing could bring great experience to Bruce’s squad and his ability to play on either wing will provide balance for Villa, who look slim in attacking options.
As a left footer, Downing’s deliveries are excellent and with Jonathan Kodjia playing as Villa’s centre-forward, the winger can provide valuable service.
Kodjia is strong in the air and Villa must exploit his strengths but they need midfielders who can consistently provide him with chances in the box.
Downing is a classic winger who will drive down the flank before delivering pin-point crosses into the danger areas and with Kodjia in the side, Villa could benefit greatly from the Premier League star’s input.
At 32-years-old, Downing isn’t a player for the long-term future but at this present moment in time, the team needs an injection of creativity and more depth in their squad. He’d be a fantastic addition to help the side get to the Premier League, even if his services were not required once they got there.
He’s made 2,626 crosses during his time in the Premier League, with a cross accuracy of 25%, and he has provided 58 assists in 395 appearances throughout his top flight career.
Kodjia is sure to score more goals if Villa add that sort of service to their team.
In other Aston Villa news, Bruce delivered his verdict on Johnstone’s debut performance.