Stewart Downing has confirmed that he rejected a move to Sunderland in preference for Championship club Middlesbrough.
Downing left West Ham for £5m in the summer.
Downing told the Sunderland Echo:
“I’d spoken to the chairman and Aitor and they had good plans here and were looking to strengthen the team.
“He wanted me to be part of that playing as a number 10 or as a wide man. For me, it was a very easy decision to make. The chairman asked if I was up for it and I said ‘if you can make the deal happen and you get me out of West Ham then I’m happy to come back’.”