Following early teething troubles in the north-east, Townsend emerged as a key figure in Newcastle’s survival bid under Benitez and his record of four goals in 13 Premier League games for the club was enough to earn him a place in England’s provisional 26-man squad for Euro 2016.
Six Premier League clubs battling to sign Newcastle £12m star - report
By Alex Taylor
West Brom have entered the £10million race to sign Newcastle winger Andros Townsend, according to reports.
Townsend is contracted to the Magpies until June 2021 following his £12million move from Tottenham but he has a release clause of £10.5million and his potential suitors may well be inclined to move sooner rather than later to secure his services.
The England international was included in Roy Hodgson’s 26-man squad for Euro 2016 but failed to make the final 23.
It is said that Townsend is not entirely closing the door on potentially heading to a Premier League side this summer if his reported release clause is activated.
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Benitez’s decision to commit to Newcastle in the Championship is key to Townsend considering what would be an unexpected move given the interest of top-flight clubs who are able to offer him a pay rise.
West Ham, Crystal Palace and Southampton have also been credited with an interest in handing the 24-year-old an instant return to the Premier League, while Manchester City and Liverpool are also monitoring developments.
But manager Roy Hodgson decided against taking Townsend to France, despite an impressive substitutes’ appearance against Australia at the Stadium of Light.
In other Newcastle news, another one of the Magpies players has hinted he has decided to stay at St James’ Park this summer.