Shaqiri move could spark domino ef­fect

The Chronicle - - Nufc - By LEE RY­DER

NEW­CAS­TLE United’s hopes of sign­ing An­dros Townsend will hinge on whether or not Stoke City can agree on a deal for Matt Ritchie.

Townsend par­tially ad­dressed talk about his fu­ture by stat­ing he was fo­cused on pre-sea­son train­ing yes­ter­day while Ritchie was all smiles dur­ing United’s train­ing camp in Ire­land.

Speak­ing to Foot­ball.Lon­don, Townsend had said: “Your name can be linked with other clubs every trans­fer win­dow it seems, but you have just got to get on with it and fo­cus on what you are do­ing for the club you are con­tracted to un­til that changes.

“For me, I am just fo­cus­ing on pre-sea­son and try­ing to get some min­utes un­der my belt in Swe­den and Den­mark.”

The exit of Xher­dan Shaqiri to Liver­pool could also re­sult in Stoke com­ing back with an in­creased of­fer for the for­mer AFC Bournemouth man.

United re­jected a £15m of­fer for Ritchie ear­lier this month and Rafa Ben­itez has made it clear to his board that he isn’t in­ter­ested in sell­ing un­less they can con­jure up a named re­place­ment in for­mer New­cas­tle winger Townsend.

It is un­der­stood that the same agent is work­ing on both the in­com­ing and out­go­ing deals sur­round­ing Townsend and Ritchie, but their rep­re­sen­ta­tive has failed so far to strike a deal with ei­ther Crys­tal Palace or the Pot­ters.

Ben­itez signed Kenedy this week and has com­pe­ti­tion for places on the flanks with Ja­cob Mur­phy and Chris­tian Atsu also on board for the cam­paign.

It leaves Ben­itez with a de­ci­sion to make on Rolando Aarons and Cal Roberts who will be classed as back-up play­ers for the com­ing sea­son.

Aarons has at­tracted in­ter­est from West Brom while Roberts, cur­rently train­ing in Ire­land af­ter sign­ing a new deal, may go out on loan.

An­dros Townsend

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