Townsend, Gayle, Ritchie: Transfer roundabout at Newcastle?

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Transfer rumors are dominating once again and it seems like some major moves are coming up for Newcastle United.

First, the Magpies signed Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels on Wednesday as Rafael Benitez begins to assemble a squad capable of gaining promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt following their relegation to Championship last season.

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However, that seems like the first of many moves for Newcastle as multiple outlets are reporting that Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle has arrived on Tyneside to have a medical ahead of a $13.7 million move.

Sky Sports is also reporting that Bournemouth and Newcastle is in talks over Scotland international Matt Ritchie, while other outlets claim Andros Townsend could be heading back to the PL with Palace interested in signing the winger.

So, you still with me? Plenty to break down here.

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On Gayle, he’s a 25-year-old striker who is a poacher and previously scored 13 goals in 19 appearances for Peterborough in the Championship. He found regular games and goals a little harder to come by at Palace over the past three seasons in the PL but he still managed to hit the back of the net 25 times in 74 appearances in all competitions for the Eagles.

If the deal goes through, Gayle will be a fine acquisition in the second-tier. As for someone heading in the opposite direction, it’s not hard to understand why Townsend would want to be back in the PL.

The former Tottenham Hotspur winger only joined Newcastle in January and excelled despite the Magpies going down, scoring four times in 13 outings. However, it is reported that Townsend has a release clause of around $16 million in his contract and it is believed Palace are ready to trigger it. It is worth noting that neither the Gayle or Townsend deals are linked and are not dependent on one another. For Townsend, it would be a good move back to his hometown London and to an ambitious club where he will likely play regularly as Yannick Bolasie can be deployed through the middle and Wilfried Zaha on the other wing.

As for the other major bit of transfer gossip surrounding the Magpies, Sky Sports claim that Matt Ritchie could also be heading to St. James’ Park. The stocky winger enjoyed a solid first-ever season in the PL with Bournemouth in 2015-16, scoring four goals in 36 outings. Yet as the season wore on he began to fade and it seems as though Ritchie is keen to work with Benitez and return Newcastle to the top-flight.

Ritchie scored 15 teams two seasons ago to help the Cherries clinch promotion to the PL and now Newcastle will be hoping he, alongside Gayle, can help them come straight back up.

Plenty of movement on the way at St. James’ but the most important thing for Newcastle fans is that Benitez remains in charge. He didn’t have enough time to save them from relegation last season but they’re already red-hot favorites to win the second tier title in 2016-17. With moves likes this, no wonder.