Despite weekend reports linking him with a move to Newcastle, The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has confirmed this morning that Rafa Benitez has NOT made an approach for West Brom’s Matt Phillips – focusing instead on the signing of a striker and Andros Townsend.
The Daily Mail claimed that Newcastle – alongside Cardiff and Middlesbrough – were ‘showing interest’ in the 27-year-old following West Brom’s relegation to the Championship, suggesting that we could be about to make an £11m move.
As highlighted below in Lee Ryder’s latest piece, it sounds like other targets are being looked at, with it appearing as though Rafa has prioritised deals for new striker and Andros Towsnend instead:
‘Newcastle United have not made an approach for West Bromwich Albion winger Matt Phillips – despite weekend reports.
‘The 27-year-old has been offered around a host of Premier League clubs after the Baggies were relegated but Rafa Benitez is focused on other targets.
‘And that shortlist still includes Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend even though Roy Hodgson tried to play down suggestions he was ready to make a return to Newcastle two years after quitting St James’ Park.
‘United, Middlesbrough and Cardiff City were linked with an £11million move for Phillips over the weekend but Benitez’s main focus is still a new striker.’
‘Benitez is not flustered when it comes to wingers because the only way Matt Ritchie will leave is if the Toon manager’s board can deliver a replacement.’
He’s a player who’s been linked with us in the past (although who hasn’t!) and may have been seen as a handy back-up option in the wide areas for Benitez, however it seems that Andros Townsend is a preferred target.
That being said, it seems like the signing of a winger is not a priority – and rightly so given we do already have Matt Ritchie, Kenedy, Atsu and Jacob Murphy on our books
Townsend may be an upgrade on a few of those, but his signing will not come easy if Hodgson’s latest comments are anything to go by – not forgetting the fact he’d only sign if we cashed in on Matt Ritchie.