In only the 10 Premier League games that Rafa Benitez managed Newcastle United, it became obvious that Andros Townsend was a favourite for the manager. He stuck to the game plan with an immense work rate and it was not out of character for him to strike a goal from outside of the box.
Despite Benitez wanting to take him into the Championship, Townsend's relegation clause led to the winger swapping Newcastle for South London after just half a year in black and white - joining Crystal Palace for £13 million, in a bid to secure his place in the England squad. Unfortunately for Townsend, things at Palace have not gone to plan and in these turn of events, there are reports that the London native is set to make a return to Tyneside.
No bad blood
At Palace, things for Townsend have been unstable and upon requesting to play right-wing, Alan Pardew duly dropped the winger. Since then and with the the departure of Pardew, the midfielder faces more uncertainty with Sam Allardyce shaking up the team. The winger and his old boss, Benitez, got on well at St James' Park and when he left, it was with a handshake and almost some hesitation.
Townsend made it clear when he departed that it was not because of the club but the division that they had fallen to: "I really enjoyed my time at Newcastle, I make no secret of that." The winger admitted: "It did cross my mind to stay but I need to be playing Premier League football if I want to make the most of my career."
These are the foundations of a shock move back to Newcastle. He would be given a place in the starting line up, under a manager that he is known to get on with and in a side with a fresh outlook; a sense of ambition as they push to regain their Premier League status. However, it remains to be seen whether the winger would take a drop down into the Championship, even if Palace could be in trouble themselves - sitting in 17th place, buoyed just above Hull City by goal difference.
Premier-League ready players
The Toon now sit at the top of the table after beating Brentford 2-1 at the weekend, while Brighton and Hove Albion suffered a 2-0 loss. Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will be available to inject some well needed creativity and magic back into play as he completes serving his ban. However, his absence proved that the squad is lacking quality in areas, which is why the Spanish manager is looking into buying players that will have a future in the top flight of English football, should the Mags earn promotion.
Andros Townsend fits the bill. His short time at Newcastle proved that he is a directive player; not afraid and perfectly capable of dribbling through defensive lines in order to create chances. Townsend is also a player that can deliver an accurate cross, both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic have demonstrated more than once that they are able to finish these kind of chances.
Moving for Townsend would be a statement of intent for the second half of the season in the push for promotion, but also for the return to the Premier League.
Supporters point of view
While leaving the club at its time of need may seem like it would upset fans, it has become evident that the Geordie Nation would be in favour of having the midfielder back in a Newcastle kit.
Personally, I'd take Andros Townsend back without hesitation. Sticking point for me would be price. #NUFC— Andrew Musgrove (@ADMusgrove) January 16, 2017
Even though i was annoyed by Andros Townsend jumping ship at #NUFC six months ago would absolutely have him back no question