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Villa hit jackpot on Downing

Aston Villa have played host to an abundance of talent over their illustrious history, and since the turn of the century have had plenty of well-known names grace Villa Park.

With these arrivals, they often have ensured that plenty of money could be made from them too.

Although their untimely relegation in 2016 seemed devastating, both before and since their return they have had names that have influenced the English game.

Did Aston Villa hit the jackpot with Stewart Downing’s sale?

Yes

No

No

One man who is certainly renowned is Stewart Downing, who whilst not being the greatest player in the world, impressed enough for the Villans that it spurred Liverpool into action.

The winger had scored 11 times and assisted 13 in 79 games, and whilst not outstanding, was deemed good enough for a Reds side in transition that were desperate to return to the top.

They forked out a whopping £20m fee for his services, marking a 66% increase from the initial £12m Villa paid to Middlesborough. 

Martin O’Neill brought the relegated man in as his first signing of the 2009 summer, with the winger eyeing a spot in the World Cup squad for the following summer.

It is a testament to his somewhat underwhelming performances that he was not selected, and throughout his whole international career, he did not manage to score in 35 games. Yet still, Kenny Dalglish was keen on him.

When a player is sold for big money, there is often a quiet resignation that they will likely be going on to bigger and better things.

However, when he made the switch to Anfield, many would argue his play somehow regressed.

Playing 91 times for the club, 12 more than he did for the Midlands outfit, he only mustered seven goals and 12 assists. In less game time Downing scored and assisted more for O’Neill’s side. 

The only benefit he gained from the move was his League Cup win, which he had already won with the Boro.

His displays on Merseyside labelled journalist Jack Reeve to claim: “Stewart Downing has been so disappointing for Liverpool, I have given him a chance to prove but he hasn’t delivered #Flop”.

How his career regressed after leaving suggests that Villa hit the jackpot when selling the forward when they did.

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