West Ham winger Stewart Downing is said to be close to completing a move back to the northeast with boyhood club Middlesbrough.

Downing has slid down the Hammers’ midfield pecking order after the signing of Dimitri Payet and emergence of youngster Diego Poyet.

And now the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette has claimed the Teessiders are close to agreeing a deal to take Downing home.

The 30-year-old began his career at Boro, helping the club to a UEFA Cup final in 2005. He joined Aston Villa in 2009 after the club were relegated to the Championship, before going on to join Liverpool in 2011 for £20million.

His move to Anfield never worked out, however, and he joined the Boleyn ground two years later for a cut-price fee.

He rediscovered his form with the Irons, and many fans would be sad to see the England international leave. It is expected the fee would be around £5million – which is what West Ham paid Liverpool for him two years ago.

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