Newcastle’s summer pursuit of Andros Townsend took another twist yesterday, following reports that Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is now open to the idea of selling winger Matt Ritchie to fund a bid.
Until now, the North East outfit have been unwilling to allow Ritchie to leave St James’ Park but with progress having been made in negotiations with Chelsea over a season-long loan deal for Kenedy, Sky Sports are suggesting that Benitez has softened his stance over the wide man’s departure.
Whilst Palace have given no indication of wanting to sell Townsend, reports have hinted that a fee in excess of £20 million will be enough to test the Eagles’ resolve, given the tightening of purse strings that appears to be taking place in SE25 this summer. For my money, allowing Townsend to leave without having an able replacement ready and waiting to go is a huge risk, particularly when you consider that Bakary Sako still hasn’t given us a positive answer over the contract he’s been offered. Having already looked a little light in wide areas last term, it’s certainly a concern heading into the 2018/19 campaign.
Of course, we may well turn down all of Newcastle’s advances going forward and look to close ranks around the group we’ve got but with under a month to go until the transfer window closes and almost no suggestion that we’re close to completing any incoming transfers, you do have to wonder about the size of our transfer budget.
One school of thought suggests that we’re setting aside £30 million for the potential purchase of Ruben Loftus-Cheek but with Chelsea having stated pretty firmly that they have no intention of selling him this summer, that would feel a tad silly to me.
In reality, we may have to sell to buy but would anyone really be happy to sell Townsend, knowing that we need to find a like for like replacement for less than the fee we receive from Newcastle? I for one am not comfortable with that prospect. Certain members of the squad can be looked upon as expendable but given his work-rate and regular place in our starting XI last season, I’m not sure I see Andros as one of them.