Optimism building for Middlesbrough’s Premier League promotion push

The England international is undoubtedly Premier League class and has turned down offers from the top tier clubs to reunite with the Riverside once again.

Steve Gibson has agreed a fee of around £5.5m, with the payment rising up to £7m if the season’s objectives of promotion are achieved.

Downing is likely to be utilised in the number 10 role, where he was exceptional last season and arguably West Ham’s best player.

All that’s left is for the Boro lad to sign the contract and then fly out to meet the squad at their training camp in Marbella, where they beat Leyton Orient 3-1 last night in a pre-season friendly.

Scoring goals was the weak link last season and the addition of Downing will boost the opportunities going forward, but there is no one to challenge Kike for the number 9 role.

Espanyol’s Christian Stuani is said to be heading to the North East with the fee agreed at around £2.5m. The 28-year-old started at the World Cup for Uruguay and netted 12 times in 15 in La Liga last season.

Stewy and Stuani leading the strike force in the Championship – it certainly has a ring to it.

Another of Chelsea’s bright youth prospects may follow Omeruo, Bamford and Nathaniel Chalobah in a season loan on Teesside. Jose Mourinho is likely to send 20-year-old old Nathan Ake to the Championship to earn some game time and valuable experience in the most competitive and rewarding league in the world.

The club’s bid to have the deals done early is looking promising, meaning the squad will have plenty of time to gel before walking out at Deepdale on August 9th for the opener against newly promoted Preston North End.


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