Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, what with their side seeking to improve upon their impressive tenth place finish last term.
Rafa Benitez’s men deserve huge credit for securing a top half finish upon their return to the top-flight last time round, that all after winning the Championship title a matter of 12 months earlier. However, it’s clear given their limitations over the course of the campaign that reinforcements will be needed this summer if Benitez is to indeed take the club forward, and perhaps return them to their former glories.
As such, there are many excited and expectant Newcastle fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent reports suggesting that a possible swap deal involving Bournemouth’s Josh King and Magpies midfielder Matt Ritchie could take place this summer.
And while there is no doubting that Newcastle would receive a fine player in 26-year-old King, they would be absolutely mad to consider letting £10.8 million-rated ace Ritchie (as per Transfermarkt) leave St James’ Park this summer.
Ultimately, the 28-year-old has played a hugely integral role in helping the North East giants both return to the Premier League and indeed remain in the top-flight in the last two seasons, having scored 12 goals and laid on eight assists to help them win promotion in 2016/17, before bagging three times and laying on six assists last term in their tenth place top-flight finish.
And with his tally of six assists more than any other Newcastle player in all competitions last season, alongside the fact that the Scotland international created more chances than any other member of Benitez’s squad, it’s pretty clear that the Magpies would lose a huge amount of their creativity and flair were they to let Ritchie leave.
Yes, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez enjoyed decent seasons and could well fill the void, but if Newcastle are serious about reaching the next level under Benitez, they simply cannot be in the business of selling their best players – Ritchie is a fundamental aspect of what Benitez is trying to achieve at St James’ Park.
Bournemouth’s King deserves great credit for a meteoric rise in the last few years, having scored 24 goals in his last two Premier League seasons, and there is little doubting that he would bolster a Newcastle striking unit that simply didn’t produce the goods last season.
But that shouldn’t be at the expense of their most creative player in Ritchie, which is why they would be absolutely mad to entertain the idea of a possible swap deal involving the 26-year-old Cherries frontman and the integral Newcastle midfielder.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!