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Opinion

Newcastle fans overwhelming response when asked should Matt Ritchie be sold

1 year ago
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It came out of the blue on Thursday, news that Newcastle United had been in talks to sell Matt Ritchie.

With the story coming from a usually very reliable source, John Percy at The Telegraph (see below), it wasn’t a case of dismissing out of hand like most transfer stories.

The report said that talks had taken place with both Stoke and Middlesbrough, with a price tag of £15m put on the winger’s head.

With the record of Matt Ritchie, especially in the Championship, little surprise those clubs would be desperate to have him. His last two seasons in the second tier saw him help Bournemouth get promotion in 2014/15 with 15 goals and 17 assists, whilst with Newcastle it was 12 goals and 7 assists in 2016/17.

Despite less attractive headline figures of 3 goals and 5 assists for Newcastle in the Premier League last season, Matt Ritchie remains a very popular player with fans.

His non-stop energy and desire ticks a lot of boxes for Newcastle fans, a player who wears his heart on his sleeve.

So would Newcastle supporters welcome a sale of the Scottish international?

Very interesting to look back to only last month, we polled thousands of Newcastle fans and asked them which players should Rafa definitely keep.

Jonjo Shelvey (99% of fans wanted to keep him) and Jamaal Lascelles (98%) predictably headed the list but in fourth place was Matt Ritchie with a massive 94% of supporters believing he should definitely be kept – full figures below on all players.

The Mag – 20 May 2018:

We asked fans which Newcastle players should Rafa definitely keep for 2018/19 season?

All results were rounded up/down to the nearest whole percentage point:

99% Jonjo Shelvey

98% Jamaal Lascelles

95% Florian Lejeune

94% Matt Ritchie

92% Mohamed Diame

90% Paul Dummett

90% DeAndre Yedlin

86% Ayoze Perez

84% Mikel Merino

70% Jacob Murphy

61% Christian Atsu

54% Ciaran Clark

50%  Isaac Hayden

37% Karl Darlow

36% Aleksandar Mitrovic

25% Rob Elliot

23% Dwight Gayle

19% Rolando Aarons

12% Chancel Mbemba

9% Javier Manquillo

6% Joselu

5% Henri Saivet

3% Matz Sels

2% Achraf Lazaar

2% Jack Colback

The Mag – Thursday 28 June 2018:

It might take some believing for many Newcastle United fans but the club have been in talks with two clubs to sell Matt Ritchie.

If this was from usual ‘sources’ then it would be easy to dismiss but the story comes from John Percy at The Telegraph and he has a very good record with his information on both transfer and other stories, including past ones regarding Newcastle United.

He states as fact that Newcastle have held talks with both Stoke and Middlesbrough regarding the sale of Matt Ritchie.

Percy states that Newcastle are considering letting the winger go if one of them is willing to pay £15m.

It would be a shock departure for NUFC fans and the presumption would surely be that a sale would only happen IF Rafa Benitez was happy for it to take place and IF he believed he would get that cash and be able to use it towards his own targets.

John Percy says Bournemouth are also interested in taking Matt Ritchie back and indeed a story in recent days claimed a possible swap deal could be on for Cherries striker Josh King.

Championship clubs are flexing their financial muscles these days and last summer Wolves paid £16m for a player, whilst Middlesbrough shelled out £15m on striker Britt Assombalonga.

Matt Ritchie turns 29 in September so bean counters would maybe see £15m as a good price to sell at but as always, it depends on what then happens to the money at Newcastle United.

Easy to see why Championship clubs would fancy taking him, as when Bournemouth got promotion in 2014/15 the winger got 15 goals and 17 assists, whilst with Newcastle it was 12 goals and 7 assists in 2016/17.

Stoke and Middlesbrough have, unlike Newcastle, already been spending relatively significant money and this coming season the two clubs will receive significant parachute payments – Stoke will bank over £41m and Boro just over £34m.

As for Rafa Benitez, John Percy says that he ‘open-minded’ about letting Matt Ritchie go and that it will revolve around what he feels is needs in terms of signing priorities for himself.

It is worth pointing out that whilst Ritchie is popular with Newcastle fans, in the top tier with Bournemouth his figures dropped to 4 goals and 6 assists and then 3 goals and 5 assists for Newcastle in the Premier League last season.

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