Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is wasting no time in attempting to reinforce his attacking options ahead of the new Premier League season with reports yesterday suggesting that he and the Magpies board are readying a bid for the Crystal Palace wide-man.
Having initially worked with Andros in the final few months of the 2015-16 season at Newcastle, Benitez was powerless to stop him upping sticks and leaving for Palace following the Toon Army’s relegation from the top flight, given the fact that Palace triggered the winger’s £13 million release clause but now, it seems the former Real Madrid boss is keen on a summer reunion.
Townsend agreed a five-year contract with the Eagles at the start of the 2016/17 season and gave no indications at the end of the campaign just gone that he was hankering after a move. Admittedly, the former Tottenham trainee endured something of a rocky start to life in SE25 under the management of Alan Pardew but soon rediscovered his mojo once Sam Allardyce took up residence in the Selhurst Park dugout.
In the two seasons he’s spent in south London, Andros has made more Premier League appearances than he managed in six years with Spurs; a sign that he has found a club who see him as a key cog in their tactical approach. Of course, he was a key player for Newcastle in the months he spent with them too but after settling nicely back into life in London, is he really going to want to up sticks and return to the North East if Palace themselves aren’t open to letting him go?
For Roy Hodgson, Townsend and Wilfried Zaha are the key men in most counter-attacks at Palace, with the pair dovetailing beautifully to cause the opposition all manner of headaches on the break. Whilst Andros may not possess the same repertoire of flicks and tricks (let’s be honest, who does?) his direct nature and desperation to test defenders opens up all sorts of space for anyone else joining him in breakaways.
I’m not surprised Newcastle are keen to bring Towsend back to St James’ Park but for now, I would suggest they’ll refuse to table the sort of bid necessary for us to play ball. As we head into our sixth straight year as a Premier League side, there really is no need for us to part with our most prized assets and whilst some may disagree with me, I feel as though the 26-year-old’s work-rate is invaluable to us heading into Roy Hodgson’s first full season as Palace boss.