Speaking to the Chronicle, Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has stated that he signed Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle once he knew Andros Townsend would be leaving.
Townsend had joined Newcastle United from Tottenham Hotspur during the January transfer window of last season and although the winger was unable to prevent the Magpies from suffering relegation, he managed to win over the fans with a host of fine performances.
However, Townsend turned from instant hero to zero over the summer after he decided to swap Newcastle for Crystal Palace and a majority of the Magpies’ faithful were not left amused by the England international’s lack of loyalty.
Nonetheless, the departure of Townsend has most certainly has had a silver lining for Newcastle after all as manager Rafael Benitez has now gone on to make a big revelation.
The Spaniard has stated that although he wanted Townsend to stay, the winger’s desire to leave prompted the club to push through with their pursuit of current stars Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle this summer.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Benitez said, “As soon as we knew that Andros Townsend was leaving, Ritchie and Gayle were our priorities.
“We tried to sign them and knew they would make us strong in these positions. We were very happy to get them, and very pleased as soon as we watched Gayle train. We knew what he was capable of, and he always trained very well.”