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Newcastle United backing away from deals for Andros Townsend, Saido Berahino

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Newcastle might just be the most important piece in Tottenham's January transfer window puzzle.

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Tottenham Hotspur's 2016 winter transfer window has been uneventful. Save the signing of youngster Shilow Tracey, Spurs have been dormant throughout January. While a backup defensive center midfielder for robot Eric Dier would be nice, the most realistic first team addition would be a true center striker to spell Harry Kane and, god forbid, replace him if injured. Yet this doesn't even seem to be Tottenham's top priority. The most interesting storyline from a Spurs perspective isn't any player coming into White Hart Lane, but the enigmatic Andros Townsend leaving North London. Eighteenth-placed Newcastle United, the side who nicked three points off Spurs in December, looks to be the club that will most influence the transfer dealings of Tottenham Hotspur within the next ten days.

Staring relegation in the face, the Magpies have been active this January. They have already spent £16 million pounds on the double signing Jonjo Shelvey and Bordeaux's Henri Saivet and are believed to be in the market for a few more significant signings. Reports suggest that Tottenham's own Andros Townsend and cryptic Twitter user Saido Berahino were at the top of their transfer list, but interest in these two players have cooled recently.

"Newcastle United have threatened to pull the plug on deals for Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend and West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino.

Despite talk of the two England internationals arriving in this window, Telegraph Sport has been told Newcastle do not have enough money to buy both and no progress has been made on either deal, with frustration turning into irritation at St James' Park."

First to Andros. The Spurs youth product has had a somewhat puzzling career at White Hart Lane. With bags of pace and potential, he has never produced regularly for Tottenham. In fact, some might say that he never got a full run-in with the team, but at twenty-four, if it was going to happen at Spurs, it probably would have already. The dust-up with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner was the last straw and Townsend's departure is the biggest priority of this window. He is still young, an England international, and could do a job for Premier League clubs.

While Newcastle's relatively talented attacking personnel isn't a perfect fit for the Tottenham winger, the club seems to be the type of side that would have interest in him. Spurs look to be in negotiations with Newcastle, but their asking price seems to be too much.

"However, Newcastle's withdrawal from negotiations may well just be a ploy to force Tottenham to lower their asking price for Townsend.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy had been looking to bring in as much as £14m, even though the winger is not in manager Maurico Pochettino's first team plans. Townsend is furious, but there is little he can do about it as he still has 18-months left on his contract."

£14 million pounds, while a large fee for a player featuring for Spurs U21's, isn't a completely crazy asking price. While Andros does give the ball away through awful, infuriatingly errant thirty yard digs, he does have a game that can still be developed. If given confidence and a season's worth of first team action, he could be a nice buy for a middling side. Also, he is English so his market value should be egregious anyways. £14 million may not be the number, but if Andros goes, it'll probably be for eight figures.

The Berahino saga of last summer was epic in a funny sort of way. It didn't work out in the end, but oh that transfer deadline day drama. Since then Berahino, or Little Bear as he is affectionately known on the site, hasn't had the best times at the Hawthorns. He looks to have gained weight and hasn't featured regularly for Tony Pulis' side. Apparently though, this hasn't stopped Newcastle from inquiring about his services.

"Newcastle made a half-hearted attempt to sign Berahino in the summer, but were comfortably out-bid by Tottenham and there are fears they are being used to flush out WBA chairman Jeremy Peace to try and facilitate a move to another Premier League club.

If WBA accept a bid from Newcastle - and the Magpies, pushed by McClaren, are contemplating offering as much as £20m for the 22-year-old - it will set the size of the fee and rivals, like Spurs, could pounce.

Newcastle could have to offer as much as £24m to tempt Peace to sell and that is more than the Magpies are willing to pay for a player whose attitude has been repeatedly questioned by WBA manager Tony Pulis."

Berahino is a definitively better prospect than Townsend, but much of his value lies in the fact that he is young, blazingly quick, and English €– like Townsend. Spurs were rumored to offer £24 million last summer but, after the lethargic and combative five months that he has had, even a £20 million bid seems a bit much. It is highly doubtable that Newcastle would be in for him at that price, let alone the £24 million suggested in the Telegraph article.

This is all good news for Spurs. Whether or not they have any interest in Berahino is irrelevant. Their focus is, and should be, on moving Townsend and getting a decent fee for him. Peace's staggeringly high price for Berahino is good for Spurs in that Newcastle will likely pass on Little Bear €– which should free up funds for another young English international; Andros Townsend. If Levy can work with the Tyneside club, we may have found a landing spot for our once lauded academy graduate.

As for Berahino, well, Sandro Ramirez has landed in Heathrow already, hasn't he?