Newcastle United are reportedly ready to listen to offers for 33-year-old utility man Matt Ritchie in the upcoming January transfer window.
According to Football Insider, Newcastle United are prepared to listen to offers for 33-year-old long-serving versatile wide-man Matt Ritchie. The report adds that the Magpies will allow him to “leave for a cut-price fee if a deal can be agreed” when the transfer market reopens in January, and manager Eddie Howe has given the go-ahead to the possible departure.
Newcastle United appear to be looking to the future at present under their ambitious new ownership, with the club already making great strides on and off the pitch since PIF took over the club. The controversial owners haven’t been hesitant about making significant, much-needed investments into the club, while the appointment of manager Eddie Howe has also helped fast-track the progression on the pitch, results-wise.
To put their progress into perspective, the Magpies were enduring a messy relegation scrap this time last year, with results not turning around despite the appointment of a new manager. Now, though, the fearless Magpies are in a genuine battle for the top-four Champions League slots and have an outside shot at taking part in the title challenge.
While Eddie Howe has rightfully earned the plaudits from the media pundits, some of the players from the old regime are playing out of their skins and deserve a lot of credit, including the likes of Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock, among many others.
One player who has been on the fringes of that recent revival, though, is veteran utility man Matt Ritchie, and he could be shown the exit door in the upcoming winter window, with the former Bournemouth man seemingly unlikely to play a prominent role for the northeast side moving forward.
The 33-year-old has only come off the bench once in the Premier League this season, coming in as a late replacement in the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Molineux, making a minute-long cameo. He was handed a full 90 in the EFL Cup against League Two opposition, while niggling injuries have also hindered his chances.
The former Scotland international arrived at St James’ Park from Bournemouth in a £10 million deal back in 2016 and has been a great servant for the club during a tough period, racking up a respectable tally of 24 goals and 33 assists in 190 games in all competitions to date.
He has been an incredible character, a real voice in the dressing room, and a leader for Newcastle. He was one of the Magpies’ best players in the Championship title-winning campaign before being transformed into a competent left wing-back by then-boss Rafael Benitez, helping to secure their shaky top-flight survival in the following seasons.
Now into his sixth year at St James’ Park, Ritchie has worked with Howe in the past at Bournemouth and remained an influential figure in the locker room during their climb up the table last year.
However, with his contract running down at the end of the season, and waning influence on the pitch, all parties could do well by parting ways sooner rather than later, with the Magpies planning for the future with their recruitment, and the player also said to be interested in a move back to the south in recent transfer windows.