Liverpool ready to take a big loss on Downing
Stewart Downing is set to become the latest high-profile departure from Liverpool with the club prepared to take a big loss on the player.
Downing, 29, was signed from Aston Villa for £20 million in 2011 but he has failed to establish himself at Anfield. He has two years left on a contract which is understood to be worth around £80,000 a week.
Newcastle United are the favourites to sign him and he has been reported in recent days to be on the wish list of Joe Kinnear, the club's director of football. The likely fee is expected to be in the region of £5 million.
The Liverpool Echo said that Downing had every intention of remaining at the club to fight for his place but "he now intends to hold talks over his future after learning of Liverpool's willingness to sell him on".
Downing, signed by then-manager Kenny Dalglish in the summer of 2011, had a dreadful first season as Anfield, failing to score or provide an assist in the Premier League. He then had a tough start to his second season after Brendan Rodgers replaced Dalglish.
He frequently found himself playing out of position at left-back, and also had his attitude questioned publicly by Rodgers in the early weeks of the season.
Downing was linked with a November loan move to Championship side Middlesbrough - his first club - and was told by the Rogers that he was free to leave.
However, the former Villa man responded with improved displays, scored his first league goal for Liverpool against Fulham on December 22 and won back a regular place on the wing.