Newcastle United have opened talks with Championship sides Stoke City and Middlesbrough over the potential sale of winger Matt Ritchie this summer, according to the Telegraph.
The newspaper claim that the second tier duo have approached the Magpies about taking the former Bournemouth man after his two years on Tyneside, with the Cherries also said to be mulling over a potential return for the Scotland international who has become a favourite of Rafael Benitez, making 86 appearances across all competitions, missing just three Premier League games last season.
It is stated that Newcastle have slapped a £15million price tag on his head in key discussions, a fee which would see a £3million profit after they snapped him up for £12million in 2016.
Good move for Newcastle?
Ritchie’s exit would come as a massive shock to the Toon Army and there would likely be much disappointment to see one of their senior stars leave after just two seasons at St James’ Park.
His enthusiasm and dedication typifies the sort of player that Benitez wants in his side and he has been a consistent performer from day one, with only a couple of dips in form.
Still, Newcastle are in desperate need of transfer funds and £15million is not a price to be scoffed at – if his suitors are willing to pay up.
If his exit resulted in one or two new recruits, then it could well be a move worth making.
This is Futbol rating: 5/10
Likely to happen?
It seems really unlikely Benitez would be willing to let one of his most trusted recruits leave without having a replacement lined up, and while Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy have been adequate, they are hardly good enough to take Ritchie’s place.
This is a move that will only happen as and when Benitez gets someone else on the brink of signing, so the Championship sides may have to wait.
This is Futbol rating: 4/10