England international Andros Townsend ended his short stint at Newcastle and secured a move back to the Premier League after signing for Crystal Palace on Friday morning.
This will no doubt be a blow to The Magpies but they can’t be too surprised that the former Tottenham winger isn’t staying around for life in the Championship.
Townsend would have obviously been disappointed not to have been called up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad, especially after his own impressive end of season form but after the past couple of weeks, maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world.
That end of season form was always going to alert a whole host of Premier League clubs and spark a race for his services. It was never going to be a matter of if he gets signed by a top flight club, but who he would end up signing for.
It’s fair to say that Townsend could have his pick of any Premier League club outside the top six. When playing for Tottenham it didn’t quite allow him to show his skills as the opposition were inclined to sit back more but after playing for both QPR and Newcastle, he has shown on a more regular basis of what he is capable of.
After links to a whole host of clubs it was a move back to London that appealed to Townsend the most and after Crystal Palace met the £13m release fee then the only thing that was missing was Townsend’s signature on a brand new contract.
He’ll go into a side that is known for it’s pacy wingers with both Yannick Bolasie and Wilified Zaha looking to torment defenders. But it must also be said that when these two were out injured Palace didn’t have a plan B, so by strengthening these wide ranks it should give them a few more options.
Going the other way in the deal was striker Dwight Gayle. He spent three seasons at the South London club but saw his game time decline with each one. During that spell he scored 15 Premier League goals but last season’s campaign only warranted three, as he was edged out of Alan Pardew’s plans.
Perhaps he can’t quite cut it at the top level but he looks useful at Championship level. He scored 13 in 29 for Peterborough in the 2012-13 campaign, that being just under one goal every two matches. If he can score at that ratio for Newcastle then that will go some way towards softening the blow of losing Townsend.
And with the addition of Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie coming shortly after Gayle’s official unveiling, you can’t help but think Rafa Benitez has gone on to strengthen his side despite losing one of his best players, which should boost his side’s promotion chances next term.
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