Napoli are considering a raid on West Ham United for winger Stewart Downing, understands. A source close to Upton Park told FDN several clubs dotted around Europe have expressed initial interest in the former Liverpool wideman, including ex-Reds manager Rafael Benitez, now in charge of the Naples outfit.
The Spaniard is said to be a keen admirer of Downing, who picked up 34 caps for England earlier in his career, and the Hammers could be tempted to do business for a player who has endured an inconsistent spell in the capital.
The 29-year-old is one of the highest earners at the club and even though he has three years remaining on his current contract, Napoli and his other suitors are still quietly confident of pulling off a deal for a relatively modest fee. If the Hammers do decide that they are willing to part company with former Aston Villa attacker Downing they could agree to let him leave on a season-long loan deal, providing the bidding club agrees to pay some or all of his wages for the duration of next term.
His inconsistency at club level in recent years has robbed the player of a place in the international set-up and he is not part of the Three Lions squad heading to Brazil for the World Cup.