Some intriguing claims from the Daily Mail today, who report that Matt Ritchie is a target of Sean Dyche’s overachieving Burnley this month.
The 28-year old winger was our player of the season last year, bagging 16 goals and 10 assists in our title winning campaign in the Championship, however he’s struggled to regain that form this season.
He has laid on more assists than any other NUFC player so far this term, but is yet to get on the scoresheet and hasn’t quite been his usual all-action self for a few months now.
Here’s a snippet from the Mail today, who suggest that Ritchie has been added to their list of winger targets following Robbie Brady’s long-term injury:
“Burnley have added Matt Ritchie to their list of potential targets in the January window. Sean Dyche would like to sign a winger with Robbie Brady expected out for the rest of the season. Aaron Lennon, James McClean and Jordan Jones of Kilmarnock are also being considered but it is understood an ambitious move for Newcastle’s wide-man has been suggested.
“It remains to be seen whether Rafa Benitez would sanction any transfer given Ritchie’s influence in the team but should the proposed takeover fail to go through the Newcastle manager might need to raise funds.
“The 28-year-old has produced five assists in 21 Premier League appearances this campaign and Dyche is an admirer of his crossing ability and dead ball deliveries.”
Given Burnley’s industrious style, it would come as no real surprise for a player of his nature to be on their radar. It makes sense from their perspective, however this is one that I’m almost certain Benitez won’t be entertaining.
He’s been well below his best for large parts of the season, but he must still be seen as a crucial part of this NUFC side. I’d back him to regain his best form soon enough – perhaps the signing of another wide man could give him the necessary competition to push him on?
A non starter for me, however I suspect a few fans may actually be inclined to cash in if his performance level continued to waver as they have done recently.