According to a report in The Sun, Newcastle United are willing to sanction Matt Ritchie’s departure to Stoke City, on the condition that they get a replacement in. The Scotland international played a key part in helping the Magpies finish tenth in the Premier League last season, adding to his fine efforts in helping to inspire Rafa Benitez’s side to the Championship title back in 2017.
But with the North East giants wanting a replacement for the 28-year-old, and Stoke arguably having the ideal man in Xherdan Shaqiri, Benitez should allow Ritchie to leave if they get the £16.2 million-rated Potters ace (as per Transfermarkt) in return.
Ultimately, Scottish star Ritchie has played a vital part in helping to re-establish Newcastle as a top-flight side, netting 12 goals and laying on eight assists to help them win promotion from the second tier back in 2017, before scoring three times and laying on six assists last term in their tenth place finish.
And having created more chances than any other Newcastle player last season, it’s clear that Ritchie is a hugely influential and effective figure for the Magpies in the final third of the pitch – they simply cannot afford to let him go without bringing in someone of similar standard.
And while many of our resident Newcastle fans are concerned that Shaqiri sometimes goes missing in matches, there is no doubting that the Switzerland international has the quality to minimise the impact of Ritchie’s likely departure.
The 26-year-old, who scored once and laid on one assist for his country in their run to the last 16 of this summer’s World Cup, enjoyed his best season to date for Stoke last term in netting eight goals and laying on seven assists for the Potters, although it wasn’t enough to keep them in the top-flight.
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And with wonderful goals in there as well as moments of individual brilliance, the Swiss star certainly has Premier League quality in his locker, and while he might not be as consistent as Ritchie in creating opportunities, he has the ability to conjure up something out of very little, be it from open play or indeed a set piece.
Ultimately, Newcastle are absolutely right to want a replacement for the 28-year-old before agreeing to sell him, he plays a big part in what they are able to create in the final third, which is why they should sanction his departure if they get Stoke’s Shaqiri in return.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!