Is Liverpool target Stewart Downing a £20 million player?

The reasons why Aston Villa feel entitled to demand a big sum

Stewart Downing

Both the BBC and Sky Sports agree that Liverpool had a £15 million bid for Stewart Downing rejected because Aston Villa are hoping to recoup £20 million for the winger. It sounds extortionate, but Villa will back up their valuation by pointing out that…

  • They paid a reported £12 million to sign him from Middlesbrough two years ago at a time when he was employed by a Championship club and out injured with a serious foot problem, whereas now he is fit, at a stable Premier League side and a more prominent member of the England squad.
  • Team-mate Ashley Young moved to Manchester United this summer for a rumoured £20 million. Downing had a better season than him – as shown by his Villa player of the year honours – has 12 months longer to run on his contract and is just a year older yet has claimed a dozen more England caps.
  • Liverpool pocketed £50 million for Fernando Torres in January and have indicated since then that they have lots to spend with major investments on Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson (all admittedly younger than Downing). It puts Villa in a position of power as they know the Reds can go higher, and opening the bidding at £15 million illustrates their eagerness to complete a deal.
  • Oddly, Villa already selling Young counts in their favour, despite it offering the impression that they are a selling club. They can point to the £20 million received as evidence that they face no pressure financially to get rid, and the fact that they pocketed almost £60 million in total for Gareth Barry, James Milner and Young as proof that big money is required to convince them to get shot of their England stars.

Our verdict
The equivalent player wouldn’t move for anywhere near as much in other countries, as evidenced by Juventus purchasing Italy international Simone Pepe for £6.75 million. However, English players come at such a premium, and the Milner and Young precedents are so strong, that Villa are justified in requesting such a large amount, and will more than likely receive it.

Your verdict

3 responses so far
  • Adam // July 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Did the edit staff of this site change recently? Why the switch from combining all the bid rumors into a quality daily column to attempts at player valuations based on these rumors that were being poked fun at prior?

  • BusterG // July 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Agree with Adam above. The faux-Opta statistical stuff and dry, bullet-pointed analysis is a long shout from the usual knowing *wink*.

    Where’s the fun gone?

  • Dave // July 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Is he worth that to Villa? yes, having already lost Young & still having the chance to flog him on this time next year they do not want to lose him for any less.
    is he worth that to Liverpool? surely not, as he isn’t that good a player to warrant 20mil overl alternatives which 20mil could buy.

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