Andros Townsend met with Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez on Monday following interest from Crystal Palace, according to reports this morning.
The club’s preferred media partner The Mirror say that Palace have made clear they are willing to meet the release clause in the winger’s contract, with yesterday’s meeting intended to head off that prospect.
The Mirror report that the talks went well and Andros Townsend has indicated he is happy to stay at St James Park and sign a new improved contract.
The player only joined from Spurs in January but will be given a pay rise to help persuade him to stay at the club, no doubt also agreeing to the removal of the release clause – or else making the figure prohibitively high (though what constitutes that now is hard to say, with all the extra TV cash now heading to Premier League clubs).
The actual figure of the current release clause has been the subject of much speculation, with amounts ranging from £8m up to £13m. However, as Andros Townsend joined for a transfer fee that roughly approximates to that higher end £13m, it would be reasonable to assume that the figure is in the ball park of that bigger amount.
Whilst the number of players Newcastle fans would be upset to lose has significantly reduced in recent seasons, Andros Townsend is the one supporters would really hate to lose.
Our recent poll of thousands of supporters saw Townsend receive 99% backing when fans were asked to choose 10 outfield players they’d like to see stay at the club.
As well as his four goals and a number of assists in only 12 starts last season, the winger is also the first player Newcastle have had since the departure of Hatem Ben Arfa, who can go past his man and really get fans off their seats.