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Transfer Rumours

Matt Ritchie ‘anxious’ to finally now make move away from Newcastle United – Report

1 month ago

Matt Ritchie is determined to leave Newcastle United this summer, according to a new report.

The versatile left footed player had an ‘interesting’ season at St James Park, which will be his last, if you believe these new claims on his future.

Matt Ritchie was desperately disappointed when a move back to Bournemouth broke down in January, according to The Mirror.

Now they say he is ‘anxious to make it happen’ at last in this transfer window.

This isn’t exactly a new story as pretty much every transfer window we have had the Matt Ritchie wanting to move back to the south coast reports, this time as usual, ‘family reasons’ cited as the driving force for a potential move.

Matt Ritchie has always said he is happy playing for Newcastle United and I don’t think he is misleading anyone. However, as has been repeatedly mentioned in reporting, the fact that he ‘works’ in Newcastle but his family still live in Bournemouth must make it a tricky balance.

The Scottish international turns 32 in September and still has two years left on his contract, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

A strange season as Matt Ritchie began it on the bench and started only one Premier League match in September before a shoulder injury ruled him out for a few months.

He then came back into the team and started five of six PL matches beginning with the 2-1 win over West Brom on 12 December 2020 but then after the 2-1 home defeat to Leicester on 3 January 2021, was completely sidelined by Steve Bruce for three months, a permanent fixture on the bench.

The infamous ‘coward-gate’ episode then happened in late February, Steve Bruce embarrassingly trying to blame Matt Ritchie for Newcastle conceding an equaliser to Wolves, when it was clearly Bruce’s fault in messing up a substitution. Ritchie called the Head Coach a coward for trying to dodge the blame / responsibility, leading to a well publicised confrontation in training.

That looked to be it but five weeks later, in sheer desperation after a run of two wins in twenty games, Steve Bruce changed half his outfield players.

Playing Spurs at home it was Krafth, Murphy, Ritchie, Sean Longstaff and Gayle, who came in for Manquillo, Clark, Hayden, Willock and Fraser. Though ironically it was the dropped Joe Willock who saved a point and Brucey’s bacon with a late equaliser off the bench.

For Matt Ritchie though it was a case of then staying in the team for the final eight PL games of the season as well. Ritchie and NUFC ending the season with five wins, two draws and just two defeats in those last nine matches.

Could this finally be the time when Matt Ritchie moving back home does prove to be true?

Well, you could certainly see plenty of ambitious Championship clubs interested and Bournemouth have just narrowly missed out on an instant return to the top tier. Plus they will have their second season of parachute payments that can finance a move like Matt Ritchie’s.

Never that prolific in the Premier League anyway, having been used regularly in a more defensive wing back role in recent seasons. In 2020/21 Matt Ritchie scored no PL goals and got two assists, whilst in 2019/20 it was two PL goals and one assist.

Under Rafa Benitez a lot more productive with the end product – bringing two PL goals and eight assists in 2018/19 and three PL goals and five assists in 2017/18.

However, his Championship stats are real stand out stuff, in his last two seasons of second tier football, one year each with Bournemouth and Newcastle, Matt Ritchie got a combined 27 Championship goals and 24 assists across the two seasons.

Whilst he would be unlikely to reach those heights again, Matt Ritchie would clearly be a massive assist in the Championship, whether playing more defensively, or returned to a more advanced role.

You can only guess at what is going to happen at Newcastle United this summer with seemingly total chaos at the club and very little money to be made available unless there is a takeover. This is probably the final chance for Mike Ashley to recoup a few million of the £12m that was very well spent on Matt Ritchie back in 2016, I could well see Newcastle agreeing to the move if Ritchie really wants it, Ashley getting one of the biggest earners off the payroll as well.

If indeed Matt Ritchie did leave, then it was fitting he had such a productive swansong at the end of last season, his contribution of hard work and desire showing up fully as Newcastle ended a largely embarrassingly poor season with at least a little bit of pride towards the end.


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