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Rafa Benitez tells Matt Ritchie he can leave Newcastle United in next transfer window – Report

7 months ago
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Further speculation surround the future of Matt Ritchie.

In July it was widely reported (see below), to the bemusement of Newcastle fans, that the winger was keen to leave St James Park and Rafa Benitez was happy to sell him if he could then bring Andros Townsend in as a replacement.

January found the story of Matt Ritchie possibly leaving but once again nothing happened.

Just over two weeks ago though, we found the topic back under discussion, with the player claimed to want one last big pay deal and Newcastle supposedly happy to sell this summer for around £10m.

All of the reports over the course of the last 12 months have pointed to cash and/or been nearer his family on the south coast as motivations for leaving.

Matt Ritchie turns 30 in September and will have two years left on his Newcastle contract at the end of June.

Now on Tuesday night, an exclusive claims that Ritchie has now had a meeting with Rafa Benitez about his situation.

With The Sun saying that their information is that the winger asked about a new enhanced contract but the Newcastle manager told him that in view of his age, there won’t be any extension or new terms offered.

The report goes on to say that Rafa also told Matt Ritchie that the club wouldn’t stand in his way if he wanted to find a new club this summer, so long as Newcastle received a satisfactory bid of course.

Ritchie has been a key figure at the club these last three years but with the team desperate for more pace, creativity and goals, I have a feeling that there could be some truth in this one.

The fact he has become Mr Versatile maybe hasn’t helped, playing on both wings, left wing-back, left full-back…wherever Rafa Benitez has asked him to play.

Maybe also a case of if Rafa Benitez stays at Newcastle and gets some realistic money to spend, there could well be no starting role for the Scottish international.

Coming up to 30 it would be difficult to see Matt Ritchie being happy with life as a squad player.

Looking for positives in all of this, if there is any substance in this latest ‘exclusive’ on Ritchie’s future, then Rafa Benitez supposedly having the discussion with the player, could be seen to be a hopeful pointer towards the manager staying.

The Mag – 31 March 2019:

Sunday morning brings shock reports that Matt Ritchie is set to leave Newcastle United this summer.

This follows claims last summer (see below) that the versatile player was close to leaving, back then it was said so that he could be closer to his family on the south coast. Stoke were said to have offered £11,5m to assist them in trying to get straight back to the Premier League, wit Newcastle said to be holding out for a fee of more than £15m.

Whether there was any truth in that one or not, nothing came of it, only for a similar story of Ritchie supposedly desperate to leave, to once again resurface in the last (January 2019) transfer window.

Today’s report come from The Mirror, who claim it is purely financial reasons this time.

They say that Matt Ritchie is looking for one more big contract and with him turning 30 in January and having two years left on his Newcastle contract, now is the time to go.

The report adds that Newcastle would be willing to sell at £10m. The implication in the story is that Mike Ashley wouldn’t be prepared to extend Ritchie’s current deal and give him the extra money he is looking for.

Whether you give The Mirror story any credibility or not, I think that if Matt Ritchie did leave, is value would be higher than £10m. He would be a massive asset to a club looking for promotion, particularly suited to one that has just been relegated and who would have the parachute payments to fund big wages and a fee.

In the last five seasons, Matt Ritchie has scored 9 goals and got 15 assists in three Premier League seasons for Newcastle and Bournemouth.

However, in his last two Championship seasons during that five year period, 84 starts and 4 sub appearances, Ritchie has got a phenomenal 27 goals and 24 assists. Directly involved in 51 goals over two second tier seasons.

Matt Ritchie turns 30 only six days before Salomon Rondon does the same, the ability to sign and retain older players seen as a key factor if Rafa Benitez is going to stay.

Ritchie is one of the fittest Newcastle players and so versatile, it would make little sense to sell him, especially for only £10m. I’m sure Rafa would see it that way as well.

The Mirror:

‘Matt Ritchie is in line for a shock exit from Newcastle this summer.

The Scotland international may form part of the expected clear-out at St James’ Park — but he is not being shoved out of the exit door by boss Rafael Benitez.

Ritchie, 29, heads a list of mainly ­domestic players likely to find themselves heading away from the Toon this summer.

The midfielder has two years left on the contract he signed after joining from Bournemouth three seasons ago. It is understood he believes he has one last big contract left in his career and wants to extend his terms and bolster his pay-packet at the same time.

Newcastle would be reluctant to ­sanction his departure but will listen to offers around the £10million mark — a fee that means they’ll recoup the money paid to the Cherries for him.’

The Mag – 31 January 2019:

Matt Ritchie is desperate to leave Newcastle United on deadline day, according to a story that is getting widespread coverage in the media on Thursday afternoon.

The tale goes that the winger, who will turn 30 in September, wants to move to be nearer his family on the south coast.

If there is/was any substance to the claims, it would be very strange if Matt Ritchie had waited until now to try and push through a move.

Many of you will no doubt be thinking this is simply a lazy reworking of a story that came out of nowhere six months ago in July 2018 (see below).

No player has been played more this season, Rafa Benitez using Ritchie in 25 of the 28 first team games so far.

Having followed the trail, it appears the deadline day story today has been initiated by Middlesbrough fan and Mike Ashley sympathiser, Graeme Bailey, who has regularly attacked both Rafa Benitez and Newcastle fans whilst steadfastly showing his support for the Newcastle United owner.

As well as not giving Bailey’s story any credibility, difficult to see exactly which club could accommodate such a transfer at this moment in time anyway.

Newcastle wouldn’t be letting Matt Ritchie go to any relegation rival and whilst he is invaluable to us, if we’re honest, it wouldn’t be one of the PL clubs higher up the table he would be realistically going to.

As for Championship clubs, surely none of them would entertain the idea of matching or bettering his Newcastle wages, never mind paying whatever price Newcastle/Ashley would be demanding for a player set to turn 30 in September.

A brilliant display and a penalty winner on Tuesday night that took a lot of bottle, Matt Ritchie will surely be sticking around to see this season out, at the very least.

The Mag – 6 July 2018:

Matt Ritchie returned to Newcastle United’s training ground with the rest of the NUFC squad on Friday morning.

The winger having been the subject of much discussion in recent days, with claims he is set to be off to Stoke City (views from their fans below)

Various claims on how far the deals/talks are along but the widespread reporting has been that Rafa Benitez wants Andros Townsend, with Matt Ritchie to be sold to pay towards that deal.

Friday afternoon has seen an update from Sky Sports.They say that their information is that Stoke City have so far offered a best bid of £11.5m but that Newcastle are holding out for more than £15m.

As for the reported potential replacement, Sky Sports report that Crystal Palace have put a valuation of £17m on the winger.

Whilst £17m would be higher than the £12m Newcastle bought and sold Townsend for back in 2016, it is far lower than the recent claimed price tags of up to £30m for the Palace winger.

Hopefully we will see major breakthroughs on incoming transfers very shortly, as the NUFC squad fly off to Ireland for their pre-season training camp and first friendly on Wednesday.

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