Football: Red-turned-Hammer Downing thrilled at new challenge in London

LONDON (REUTERS) - Stewart Downing's two-year spell at Liverpool is over, with the England winger signing a four-year contract at West Ham United, the Premier League clubs announced on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old was signed from Aston Villa by then Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish for a reported fee of 20 million pounds (S$39 million) in mid-2011, but despite making 29 league appearances last season was not central to manager Brendan Rodgers' plans.

"I'm very excited," Downing told West Ham's official website (

"It's a great opportunity for me being here, it's a great club and I'm really excited to get going.

"I'm ready and I'm fit for the first game against Cardiff City. I've played a decent few games for Liverpool in pre-season, so there will be no problems on that front.

"It's all happened quickly, but I'm really excited and hoping to play a part on Saturday."

No transfer fee was stated, but it has been reported that Liverpool will take a large loss on the deal.

Downing, capped 34 times by England, is the second Liverpool player to move to the east London club, following Andy Carroll's permanent transfer earlier in the off-season for around 15.5 million pounds, much less than the 35 million the Anfield club paid Newcastle United for the striker in January 2011.

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