Aston Villa are set to sign Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough for £12m (Dh72.6m). The England winger, 24, has made more than 200 appearances for his hometown club since making his debut in 2002. He is recovering from foot surgery, which is likely to sideline him until at least October. Downing, who has 23 England caps, signed five-year deal in Feb 2008 but, with Middlesbrough struggling last season, had a written transfer request rejected in January.
Meanwhile Sunderland could be in line to make a £12m signing of their own after their manager Steve Bruce has confirmed the club are in talks with Portsmouth over the England striker Peter Crouch. Bruce said: "He is a player I have admired for a very long time. We are in discussions with the club and that's as far as it is at the moment. But the discussions have been going on now for a few weeks."