According to The Daily Telegraph, Newcastle United could be willing to part with influential midfielder Matt Ritchie this summer. The Scotland international played a key part in helping the Magpies win promotion to the Premier League back in 2017 before inspiring them to safety last time round, thus underlining the huge mistake they would be making if they were to let him go during the close season.
Ultimately, the 28-year-old has been a hugely integral part of Rafa Benitez’s side ever since he made the move from Bournemouth to St James’ Park back in the summer of 2016, with the midfielder seemingly happy to drop down to the Championship knowing that the Magpies would be back in the top-flight very soon.
And he played as big a part as anybody in helping them reclaim their place in the top tier with 12 goals and eight assists in 42 Championship appearances, which he then backed up in the Premier League last term with three goals and six assists for the North East giants.
Significantly, no-one in the Newcastle squad created more chances than the Scottish midfielder last season to underline how crucial he is to the attacking ranks at St James’ Park, while his willingness to work defensively off the ball and track back is likely a big factor in why Benitez wants to keep him at the club – he seems to epitomise everything Benitez wants from a player in his squad.
Ultimately, take Ritchie out of the Newcastle team, and they are immediately much blunter going forward – while the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez obviously have the ability to compensate for Ritchie’s absence, it’s the 28-year-old that carries the greater threat of anyone.
Be it getting balls into the box from open play, or indeed his incredible ability from a set piece, the Scottish ace has it all from those wide positions, and if Newcastle are serious about moving to the next level under Benitez, and thus improving upon their tenth place finish last term, they cannot be in the business of selling their most influential players – Ritchie is one of those.
Thus, if the Magpies are indeed to sell the Scotland international this summer, it could well be one of the biggest transfer mistakes the North East heavyweights have made in a many a year, and thus one that could seriously come back to haunt them in the Premier League this season.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!