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.
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.