Former Newcastle United winger receives Saudi approach after Premier League contract U-turn

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The former Newcastle United winger’s proposed move to Burnley fell through.

Former Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend has been approached by clubs in Saudi Arabia and the MLS after Burnley withdrew their contract offer.

Townsend had been training with Vincent Kompany’s side following his release from Everton at the end of his contract on June 30 and played in friendlies against Benfica, Real Betis and Genk.

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The 32-year-old, who missed the whole of last season through an ACL injury, was offered a deal by Clarets, only for the newly-promoted Premier League club to change their mind last minute.

Former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)Former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The former England international told talkSPORT: “At the end of June, beginning of July, I was invited first and foremost to go and train at Burnley, just to keep fit and get going. Then they soon realised, ‘This guy has still got it, still got what it takes.’

“So the manager pulled me into his office and said, ‘Listen we’re interested, we want to see you against good opposition. We’re going to take you on tour to Portugal and see you against high level opposition.’

“[I] went to Portugal, played a couple of games, Genk, played very well against Benfica, played 90 minutes. The next day I was offered a one-year deal, got back to England, went for my medical straight away.

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“Passed the medical, I thought, ‘Right, I’m ready to sign’, I’m in the shower ready to go to the CEO after my shower and go and say, ‘Shall I wait around, is the contract almost ready?’

“As I’m in the shower, somebody from the coaching staff pulls me and says, ‘Andros, the manager wants to see you in his office whenever you’re done’.

“So I went and got dressed, went up to the managers’ office and for one reason or another, the contract was no longer on the table for reasons I didn’t understand.

“It’s recently come out, the manager said in his press conference that other options that they were looking at had become available and injuries they had in the building had come back sooner than they thought.

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“It’s a decision I didn’t agree with but that’s life, we shook hands, we hugged it out, we went our separate ways and now I’m back here looking for another opportunity.”

Having been on Sky Sports punditry duty for Newcastle’s 5-1 win against Aston Villa on Saturday, it’s since been revealed by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano that Townsend has attracted interest overseas, specifically in the US and Saudi Arabia.

Townsend started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and made 93 appearances before making the switch to Newcastle in January 2016 for £12million.

Whilst he impressed at St James’ Park - scoring four times in 13 games - his stay was shortlived after he opted to join Crystal Palace following United’s relegation from the Premier League.

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Townsend was close to returning to Tyneside six months later but then Magpies owner Mike Ashley refused to sanction the deal. Townsend spent five years at Selhurst Park and was just 15 appearances shy of reaching 200.

The player then reunited with former boss Rafa Benitez in 2021 after becoming a free agent. He appeared 27 times before his career at Goodison Park was cut short because of a knee injury.

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