Newcastle United news: Townsend rumours latest, Benitez contract issues, Barton to Rangers

Townsend and Benitez
Townsend and Benitez
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Andros Townsend’s future has been the source of much speculation on social media today – with various accounts linking him with a move to Sporting Lisbon.

The web – and Twitter in particular – exploded last night and this morning with claims that the winger had been spotted on a flight to Portugal after being given time off with England.

There were also reports in the Portuguese media that Lisbon were prepared to activate the £8million release clause in Townsend’s Newcastle contract, which was picked up by The Sun who ran the story.

Townsend will be back in the North East this week, however, when England come to the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez’s talks over his Newcastle future continue – and should he stay at the club there will be some major contractual issues to address.

Miles Starforth has all the latest on Benitez, plus the futures of Steven Taylor, Kevin Mbabu and Cheick Tiote here.

Elsewhere, former Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton is on the verge of signing for Rangers after revealing he is leaving Burnley.

Barton took to Twitter to confirm his exit from Turf Moor, saying: “Thanks to all the Burnley fans and everyone connected to the club. Amazing support this year that will live with me for a lifetime.

“Toughest decision of my professional life to leave an amazing set of people and a phenomenal culture behind.

“I was presented with an opportunity and challenge the competitive animal in me just could not turn down. Onwards and upwards now.”