It’s been widely reported over the last 24 hours that Newcastle United have reopened talks with Crystal Palace over a potential £18 million deal for regular first-team starter Andros Townsend.
The England midfielder moved to Newcastle in January of 2016, before leaving them just months later following their relegation from the Premier League, despite Rafa Benitez’s best efforts to keep him on their books. Predictably, the Spaniard guided the Magpies back into the Premier League at the first time of asking but once they had regained their place at English football’s top table, Towsend was happily settled in SE25.
To the wide-man’s credit, he hasn’t given even the merest hint of a suggestion that he’s keen to leave Selhurst Park this summer but with his former boss known to a massive fan, it seems those behind the scenes at St James’ Park are desperate to explore every possible angle relating to a potential reunion with their former star.
With Matt Ritchie supposedly a serious transfer target for both Stoke City and Middlesbrough this summer, Benitez is seemingly unwilling to sanction a sale until a suitable replacement is sourced, which is where Townsend comes into the picture. Initially, Palace’s demand of £20 million or more was said to be putting the Newcastle board off from making a formal offer but the latest reports suggest that the Eagles’ stance has softened slightly, with a bid of around £18 million said to be enough to tempt them into a sale.
Given Townsend’s tirless work-rate and regular appearances in Roy Hodgson’s starting XI, I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little perplexed by the idea of letting him go. Of course, we may look to bring in a superior replacement but with money known to be tight at boardroom level and roughly one month to go until the window closes, it’s not a scenario that fills me with joy.
Most Palace fans have come to terms with the fact that this summer isn’t going to be one filled with lavish spending but if the club are genuinely considering selling one of our regular starters before any outfield players have come in, you do start to wonder about the plans we have in place for the transfer window as a whole.