According to reports in the press, speculation is rife regarding Andros Townsend. He played for Newcastle in the 2016/17 season, before being transferred to Crystal Palace for £15.6-million, but rumour has it that he could be returning to St James’ Park. According to the Daily Mirror and the Guardian the Magpies and the other interested party, Leicester City, could be willing to pay up to $20-million for the winger’s services.
Townsend originally came to Newcastle United from Tottenham Hotspur in January 2016 for the sum of £12-million. But due to the fact that at the end of that season United were relegated, they chose to let the then 24-year-old go to Palace for £13-million.
Newcastle fans will have good memories of Townsend following the 13 appearances he made for the club when he scored four goals and was also accredited with two assists. Many will recall the fantastic free-kick against Crystal Palace that saw the Magpies rise above the relegation zone for a short period. He became a fixture for the first team under the stewardship of Rafael Benitez.
Since joining Palace, under the management of Roy Hodgson, Townsend has prospered as a player. Last season he made 36 appearances in the Premiership, and while he only scored two goals, he did make seven assists, all in favour of Christian Benteke, who in the previous season before Townsend came on board, had only managed a to hit the back of the net three times in 31 games.
When Hodgson was England team manager, he picked Townsend to play for the national side on13-occasions, scoring three goals. Hodgson also developed the young winger, encouraging him to play well on both flanks. Benítez would do well to foster this if Townsend does return to St James’ Park as when he was here before, he only played him out wide on the right.
The only thing that has to be considered is whether or not a price tag of £20-million is too steep. Newcastle have got lots of holes in their squad right now, and they need to make several shrewd buys to prepare themselves for next season and position themselves for a top ten finish or better.
We all know that spending does tend to breed success, and with expectations so high at St James’ for next season, any money needs to be spent wisely.
Recent activity on Twitter from Toon Army devotees has suggested that instead of getting Townsend back into the fold, Benitez should instead be looking to make Robert Kenedy Nunes Nascimento, more popularly known as simply Kenedy, a permanent addition to The Magpies’ squad.
Kenedy has impressed since he joined Newcastle on loan from Chelsea in January. The versatile 22-year-old Brazilian often described as a “dual winger,” can also play in midfield or defence. In the seven games he has participated in, Kenedy has shown himself to be a great passer of the ball, displaying both vision and accuracy. He has also managed to score two goals and tot-up two assists.
Kenedy’s last game in a Magpies’ shirt was the 1-0 defeat by West Bromwich and although Benitez has made noises about wanting to make the young Brazilian a permanent name of the pay-role.
Certainly, if the Toon Army get their way, it will happen, and who knows? If the sale of Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham comes off (he is currently on loan with The Cottagers) and Newcastle get the reputed £15 to £20-million he is said to be worth, Benitez could afford both Kenedy and Townsend to don the black and white next season.