Arsenal FC Transfer Prospects: Stewart Downing Shouldn't Be a Target for Wenger

Robin SAnalyst IMay 31, 2011

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MAY 31:  Stewart Downing speaks to the media during the England press conference at the Grove Hotel on May 31, 2011 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

It's transfer season once again and Arsenal are mostly being linked to £10-15 million rated players.

Considering Arsenal's limited outlay in recent years, that's the range one would expect from Arsene Wenger.

One such player linked with a move to the Emirates is Aston Villa's winger Steward Downing.

A solid attacking player and although he's reluctant to extend his contract with Villa, Arsenal shouldn't target the England winger.

If Andrey Arshavin leaves, Downing may very well become the prime target for Arsenal to replace the Russian.

Make no mistake, Downing has had a fantastic 2010-11 season. He stayed relatively injury free and was amongst the most consistent performers for Villa amidst a tumultuous season.

After such a productive season in the Premier League, it's only normal for Downing to look for a club in the Champions League. And why not? He's 26 now and in his own words at a "crossroads".

He has only one career and should make the most of it. Downing's contract situation also offers a good chance for him to force a move through. He has just two years left on his current Villa contract and looks very unlikely to extend it any further.

Liverpool are obviously in for a winger and looks most likely to secure the signing of Downing. But Arsenal are also thought to be interested. Any move would depend on Samir Nasri's contract situation and Arshavin's departure. If either of them leaves, is Downing the answer?

Downing is undoubtedly a good player but not great. He's a natural wide player who can offer width and a pinpoint crosser of the ball. Arsenal could do with such a player on the left flank. However, Downing is not great defensively and is not technically gifted.

His work rate is much similar to Arshavin's and doesn't track back often. Though not as bad as Arshavin, but still not good enough.

Having said that, the England winger's direct approach could be a breath of fresh air at Arsenal, where players are as reluctant to shoot as Wenger is to spend cash.

Downing has been part of the England senior setup since 2005 and hasn't scored a single goal yet.

His numbers are hardly convincing. It's not always about statistics. Based on this season's performance, many would like to have him on their squad.

Not a bad option if you can't find a better for £12-15 million.

And I don't think there are too many quality wingers available for that sort of sum. The advantage with Downing is he knows what it takes to cut it in the Premier League. He knows what to expect from teams like Stoke City, Fulham etc., unlike a foreign recruit who would need time to adjust.

If a team is looking for an immediate solution to their wing problems like Liverpool, Downing could be a good signing. What Arsenal need is players to improve their already good side.

For that Arsenal need world-class players. And I am afraid Downing is not one among them. Ashley Young would be the best available option in the Premier League, though he looks set to join Manchester United next week.

I do believe Arsenal need an attacking winger, preferably left-footed, this summer, but I don't think Downing is that player.