West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce has defended his signing of former Liverpool winger Stewart Downing.

Big Sam wrote in the London Evening Standard: "I would also like to answer the criticism that we should have prioritised a striker earlier in the summer rather than signing Stewart Downing.

"I firmly believe that Stewart, when he has recovered from this injury, will go on and prove a valuable player for West Ham. Of course we were looking to strengthen our striking options but at the time we couldn't find one who would fit the bill.

"Yes, there were strikers around but we wanted one of top quality and the price was way above the fee that we paid for Stewart.

"As a manager you have to take your chances and finding a top striker, whether he be from this country or elsewhere, is not easy."

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