Newcastle United are reportedly set to move on Matt Ritchie in the New Year, with the former Scotland international having become something of a peripheral figure at St James’ Park of late.
What’s the word?
That’s according to transfer insider Dean Jones – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – who suggested that the Magpies have informed the 33-year-old that he is surplus to requirements, with a move away seemingly in the pipeline in January.
The respected source stated: “I’ve been told that he is a player that has been told he can go in the New Year. I know there has been some interest from America, there are MLS clubs that like him, so that might be an avenue that opens up to him.”
This follows a recent report from Football Insider that revealed the Tynesiders are willing to listen to offers for the versatile dud when the market re-opens, with manager Eddie Howe said to have given the ‘green light’ to the sale of the experienced asset.
The suggestion is that the Premier League side are open to a cut-price sale in the winter window, with the player’s current deal set to expire at the end of the season.
Howe must ditch Ritchie
While Howe – who previously coached the veteran during his time in charge at Bournemouth – is a notable admirer of the 16-cap machine, having dubbed him an “incredible” asset in the summer, the 44-year-old may well need to be ruthless and ditch Ritchie in the near future.
The latter man has been at the club for over six years since joining from the Cherries on a £12m deal back in 2016, going on to rack up 190 appearances in all competitions in that time, scoring 24 goals and recording 33 assists in total.
While that is a respectable tally, the Gosport-born man arguably enjoyed his best season at the club during his debut campaign with Newcastle then residing in the second tier, scoring 16 times and providing ten assists in all competitions to help fire the club back into the Premier League.
For those promotion heroics alone the £45k-per-week talent is likely to still be a popular figure on Tyneside, although it is hard to ignore his struggles since making the step up to the top flight, with his tally of three league goals in the 2017/18 season his best for the club in a Premier League campaign.
While the winger has largely operated in a wing-back berth in recent years, it is telling that he has failed to score a single league goal since the start of the 2020/21 campaign, while having also featured just twice in all competitions this term.
As pundit Alan Hutton suggested, both Ritchie – and teammate Jamaal Lascelles – could well be better served moving on sooner rather than later, with the former Tottenham Hotspur defender stating:
“It’s brutal, Lascelles is the club captain and I don’t think there will be many fans who have anything to say against Ritchie but this is football.
“They aren’t playing. It’s better for them if they go and play somewhere else every week. We know who is getting a game for Newcastle and these guys can’t get in.”
A solid, yet unspectacular servant for Newcastle over the years, the time has now come for the 5 foot 8 man to seek a new home.