A springtime renaissance at Newcastle United saw Andros Townsend not only restore a reputation savaged by a sustained spell on the Tottenham Hotspur fringes and a fight with a fitness coach, but actually enhance his standing to the extent he is now being courted by some of the Premier League’s fattest felines.
According to reports, the 24-year-old has a relegation release clause in his contract in the £10.5m ballpark, a sum which Liverpool and Manchester City allegedly consider good value and may activate following the Magpies’ demotion to the Championship.
The figure is £1.5m shy of what Townsend cost Newcastle last January as part of a panic-fuelled trolley dash to stave off the drop, which ultimately failed despite four goals and two assists in 12 starts from the Spurs academy graduate.
His upturn in form not only drew all manner of plaudits, but also led to him winning back his place in the provisional England squad for Euro 2016, although he failed to make the final cut.
Despite this disappointment, Townsend jetted off on his summer holidays aware of the fact that a handful of good performances in the Premier League is all he has to produce in order to enter Three Lions contention.
However, this privilege is likely to be revoked if he sticks with Newcastle in the second tier and, with such glamorous suitors on his case, the temptation to leave, should the opportunity arise, may prove too strong to resist.
But disregarding the attractive offers that may come his way in favour of a stint in the Championship would be of greater benefit to Townsend.
As he discovered at Spurs, first-team chances at clubs harbouring the loftiest of ambitions are hard to come by and, when they do come about, the pressure to deliver is immense.
In the six years that followed him turning pro with the Lilywhites, the in-demand wide man started just 22 league games in total, all of which fell in his final two-and-a-half seasons in north London.
Moving to a team with a different definition of success saw him make the XI for every match he was available for, bar one, when he began on the bench after being reintegrated into the team following a short injury layoff.
Furthermore, while Townsend’s four goals and two assists undoubtedly aided in improving Newcastle, such a return wouldn’t see him nominated for many end-of-season awards at Liverpool or Man City.
Having escaped the shackles of a perennial reserve role at Spurs after so long, the Magpies star would be mad to slap them back on to avoid a Championship skirmish next season.