OK, I'm not a big fan of Downing, but if he is unveiled as a West Ham player tomorrow, you have to give huge credit to the owners again. After shelling out somewhere between £12m and £15m for Carroll, many of us thought that we would pad out the squad with loan signings and cheapies, but the Board had different ideas. The signing of Downing shows commitment and ambition the like of which we have rarely, if ever, known at Upton Park.
And it seems as if we can expect at least one more signing, with Allardyce demanding another striker. Finding the right man may now prove even more tricky, because with the sudden abundance of offensive midfielders, there's unlikely to be a berth on the flanks when Carroll is back in the team, so we need somebody happy to play second fiddle but good enough to step up to the plate when called upon. That man could have been Grant Holt but he is now at Wigan so God only knows who the club has in mind. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Tottenham's Kane in on loan. He is big, skilful and knows where the net is.
Given Allardyce stereotypically bypasses the midfield, it is amazing how many midfielders we now have in the squad: Nolan, Diame, Cole, Morrison, Jarvis, Downing (if he signs), Noble, Collison, Diarra, Vaz Te...we can now name an outfield of 10 midfield specialists! (Plus Taylor!) And we are still being linked with Barton and a Swedish international! This suggests that one or two might be let go and everybody will be hoping that Diame isn't on his way out for a big ticket fee. And quite a few of us will be praying that Noble stays too!
It seems that the days of us being a selling club really are a thing of the past, however. Duxbury made that claim, and promptly sold Bellamy & Collins, but now any sale really will be because Allardyce is happy to part with the player or because he spies a better value alternative.
We are not alone in spending big, of course. Cardiff and Swansea have invested big money and Norwich have brought in seven new players. The Sky money has encouraged a much greater sense of financial adventure.
Nevertheless, the Board's investment in the squad since bringing in Allardyce has been immense. Nolan signalled their intent. Jarvis shocked us. Carroll, on loan even, amazed us. And now Downing has come like a bolt from the Claret and Blue. I was suspicious of Sullivan and Gold when they arrived, but I was wrong. They really have done a fantastic job so far!