Rafa Benitez ‘expecting’ transfer breakthrough at Newcastle as club targets Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend

Rafa Benitez “expects” Newcastle United to make a transfer breakthrough this week – but the club faces a battle to sign Andros Townsend.

Benitez is keen to bring Townsend back to St James’s Park in this month’s transfer window.

The club is looking to sign the winger on a loan with a view to a permanent deal.

But United must first persuade Palace to part with the 25-year-old, who joined them last summer in a £13million deal.

And a deal for Townsend is not understood to be imminent, though work is ongoing in the transfer market.

Newcastle manager Benitez – whose side returned to the top of the Championship after beating Rotherham United 4-0 on Saturday – is hopeful of progress over the coming days.

Asked if there was any progress in the market, Benitez said: “Still nothing yet.

“It’s so obvious that we have to balance a little bit the team. I’m expecting something this week, hopefully.

“But that’s just my feeling, I’m expecting. You can see that still we can improve the side a little bit.”

Townsend came off the bench for Palace, beaten by Everton at Selhurst Park on Saturday, in the 88th minute.

The England international – who has struggled for form since leaving United – is reportedly interested in returning to Tyneside after a difficult few months in the capital.

Townsend’s future could only be allowed to leave Palace if the club lands one or more of its January targets.

However, Sam Allardyce, appointed as Alan Pardew’s managerial successor at Selhurst Park last month, knows he will struggle to persuade players to join them given their precarious positions.

Palace are third-bottom of the Premier League and without a win in the division under Allardyce.

Meanwhile, Benitez paid tribute to Rotherham after the game at St James’s Park.

Paul Warne’s side made life difficult for Newcastle before a free-kick from Jonjo Shelvey led to a goal for Daryl Murphy in first half added time.

Matt Ritchie scored twice after the break and Ayoze Perez also found the net.

“If you think carefully and watch carefully, they didn’t create too much in the first 25 minutes,” said Benitez.

“We had the two chances from Ayoze, which could have been different, and they were not creating too much in attack.

“Then we committed a foul. We gave them the ball, they got a corner and then a throw-in. Then we had some problems and we lost the control.

“We were a little bit nervous and we started giving the ball away and stopped passing it well.

“We were not in control as much, but after the first goal we had the confidence to go into the dressing room, analyse things and change one or two little things.

“Then we started the second half really well, and then it was a question of time for us to score more goals.

“But you have to give credit to them because this time they were working hard and going forward and were a threat.

“But it was just two or three things we needed to adjust, and we did it.”