Matt Ritchie is claimed to be a January transfer target for one of Newcastle United’s Premier League rivals.
A report on Wednesday afternoon from The Mail claims that with Robbie Brady out injured, probably for the remainder of the season, Matt Ritchie would be top of Sean Dyche’s wish list.
The newspaper says that the Burnley boss has a number of other secondary targets who would be cheaper, such as West Brom’s James McClean, Jordan Jones of Kilmarnock, and Everton’s Aaron Lennon, but that his more ambitious thought is to see whether Rafa Benitez would be prepared to sell.
The logic of the transfer story being that the Newcastle boss may be prepared to sacrifice Matt Ritchie to raise funds for targets of his own.
Ritchie has had an up and down season, and both Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy have had their moments in recent matches, but very difficult to see the Newcastle boss agreeing to the former Bournemouth winger’s departure.
As well as being Newcastle’s most regular team selection (started 20 of the 22 PL matches – next highest is Manquillo with 18), Matt Ritchie is also the Newcastle player with most assists (five).
Last season he scored 12 and assisted on seven but stepping back up to the Premier League he has found goals tougher to come by, though he has hit the woodwork on a number of occasions.
Difficult to gauge what the 28 year old would be worth in today’s market, having cost £12m eighteen months ago – but it probably wouldn’t be much/any more than that figure, leavig you wondering what could you get with that money for one of your most experienced and better players?
The one thing in the story’s favour is that at least Burnley, with 34 points already, aren’t one of Newcastle’s relegation challengers, so no conflict there. Unlike the daft stories claiming Newcastle could sell Jonjo Shelvey to West Ham.
With his busy energetic style you could imagine Ritchie being the kind of player Sean Dyche might like but Newcastle United are a million miles away at the moment, from considering letting a player such as Matt Ritchie leave in the middle of a relegation fight.