Rumours linking Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend with a summer move to Newcastle have been swirling for at least two or three weeks now but according to one (normally reliable) journalist, the Eagles aren’t willing to let him move back to Tyneside.
With Yohan Cabaye leaving and news of Bakary Sako’s final decision over the contract extension he’s been offered in SE25 yet to be made public, it stands to reason that Roy Hodgson wouldn’t be looking to let Andros leave ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, regardless of Newcastle’s desperation to bring him back to St James’ Park.
According to numerous sources in the North East, Magpies winger Matt Ritchie is attracting serious interest from Stoke City and is seemingly keen on a move, leaving Newcastle with something of a dilemma. Whilst Rafa Benitez is believed to be open to the idea of letting Ritchie fly the nest, he’s keen to ensure that the club have his replacement signed and sealed before giving the deal the green light; making Palace’s reluctance to play ball a real source of frustration for those in black and white.
In fairness to Hodgson and the Palace hierarchy, they are in much the same boat as Benitez, in that they’re unwilling to part with Townsend before a like-for-like option has been found and a deal finalised. It’s the sort of stalemate you grow to expect in every transfer window when clubs with similar ambitions try to do business with one another, not that it gets any less stressful to watch as a supporter.
Whilst most Palace fans have now come to terms with the fact that there aren’t huge sums available for incoming transfers, the departure of Cabaye, alongside Lee Chung-Yong, Damien Delaney, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should at least give us sufficient wiggle room wage-wise to not feel pressured into selling Townsend if we don’t want to.
With Roy Hodgson having steadied the ship masterfully since September, next term will hopefully be one of steady growth within the Premier League, seeing Andros playing a key role in the side throughout. The gaffer clearly placed huge value on the England man throughout the previous campaign, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to see that we’re so reluctant to let him go.