According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, Newcastle United’s Matt Ritchie could well be on his way out of St James’ Park this summer. The former Bournemouth winger has played a key part in helping Rafa Benitez’s side return to the Premier League and then stay there last season, and were the Magpies to indeed sanction his departure this summer, it could prove to be the final straw for manager Benitez.
Ultimately, the Spaniard has been left frustrated with the club’s transfer policy pretty much ever since he took over the North East giants back in 2016, with the former Chelsea and Liverpool boss given limited funds to improve his squad.
In fact, Benitez was sanctioned just three loan signings in the January transfer window despite Newcastle’s plight near the bottom of the Premier League, and while they got out of it with some fine performances in the second half of the season, they may not be so lucky this time round.
And selling one of their most influential players in Ritchie is hardly going to meet Benitez’s lofty ambitions for the Magpies.
The 28-year-old made the move to St James’ Park back in the summer of 2016 in a bid to help them win promotion from the Championship, and having done just that he then turned his attentions to keeping them in the top-flight, finishing last season with three goals and six assists in 35 Premier League appearances.
And having created more chances than any other Newcastle player last term, it goes without saying exactly how important Ritchie is to this Magpies side, not least because he appears to epitomise everything Benitez wants from his players.
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The 28-year-old brings genuine quality to the final third, specifically from the wide areas, but he also works extremely hard for the team defensively in tracking back and offering support to right back DeAndre Yedlin.
Ultimately, Benitez’s future still remains somewhat uncertain heading into the 2018/19 season, what with the Spaniard having only 12 months left on his current deal and yet to sign an extension – Newcastle supporters in the Tavern are growing increasingly concerned that he could leave.
And were the club to sanction the departure of one of his most prized assets in £9 million-rated Ritchie (as per Transfermarkt) during the close season, that could well prove to be the final straw for the 58-year-old.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!