Crystal Palace must be regretting the decision to allow Andros Townsend to depart the club this summer as he has begun life at Premier League rivals Everton in scintillating fashion.
The 30-year-old was allowed to leave Selhurst Park on a free transfer as new manager Patrick Vieira overhauled his first team squad, but he has already gone on to prove his worth on Merseyside.
Townsend was one of many ageing players to be released by Palace following the conclusion of 2020/21, but he revealed back in June that negotiations over a new deal were taking place with the capital club.
“Since then, Christian Benteke has signed a new deal, so… (laughs). So I don’t know. I want to be somewhere on July 1st.
“My agent is in the background now getting as much interest put into an offer, and then I’ll sit down with my agent, and around July 1st (we’ll) see which one is the best for me at this time in my career.”
However, just a month later, the Evening Standard reported that a change in circumstances meant that the former England international would not be returning to Palace, leaving the door open for Everton to swoop.
Although Townsend didn’t accumulate an abundance of goal contributions during his five-year stay in south London, bagging 16 goals and providing 28 assists in 185 appearances for the Eagles, he played a pivotal part in their success under Roy Hodgson.
Last season, as per WhoScored, the former England international’s respectable haul of five Premier League assists was bettered only by Eberechi Eze, while the pair’s 1.1 shots per league game were the joint-third highest totals amongst their Palace teammates.
Townsend’s tally of 1.2 key passes per league game was second only to Eze, while his match average of 1.3 dribbles was the fourth-highest total when compared to his former Eagles colleagues [WhoScored].
Constantly supplying the likes of Benteke and Wilfried Zaha with a stream of quality crosses is where the speed demon really excelled. He recorded 1.6 crosses per league match throughout 2020/21, the highest tally amongst the Palace squad.
There were question marks over whether Townsend could make the step up to Everton, but so far he has done so with ease, bagging two goals and laying on two assists in just five outings in all competitions.
His outrageous long-range strike against Burnley on Monday night was a reminder of just how good he can be on his day and may leave a large section of Palace fans ruing Steve Parish’s decision not to renew the £6.3m-rated wizard’s contract.