On Thursday we discovered that both Stoke City and and Middlesbrough had held talks with Newcastle to try and sign Matt Ritchie.
That seemingly credible reporting (see below) has been followed by an awful lot of talk, by both media and Newcastle fans.
With now Newcastle widely reported as trying to bring back Andros Townsend, it has only heightened the levels of speculation.
The easy/lazy story being that if Matt Ritchie can be sold for £15m or so, that will provide most of the money needed to buy Andros Townsend.
The press predictably lapping it all up and regurgitating it with minutely different angles, though for me, I think they are missing the most obvious question.
Why on earth would Matt Ritchie have any interest in moving to either Stoke City or Middlesbrough?
There are loads of other questions within that main one…
Do you honestly think the winger would rather go to one of those two rather than fight for his place at Newcastle United, even if the club did want to sell him?
Then, if he was accepting that he should leave, why would he be signing for a Championship club.
Yes, I know he did it with us but he, just like Rafa Benitez, sees the massive potential at Newcastle and wanted to be part of it.
If he is available, then surely around half the Premier League clubs would be interested in him.
Of course, the fact remains that whoever we might like the club to sign, why would you be wanting to get rid of one of Newcastle’s best players as part of the plan?
Unless there are miracles where Rafa’s available transfer budget is concerned, then once again character and workrate are going to be the vital ingredients next season, rather than able to rely on pure quality.
Matt Ritchie embodies that character and workrate more than any other Newcastle player, so it would be even more of a catastrophe if the Scottish international was to leave.
If he does, it will be a move to another Premier League club, and that could be a massive negative for Newcastle if they did sell him to a rival club in the top tier.
From The Mag on Thursday:
‘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 City 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.’