Rafa Benitez told to sell star player if he wants £17m signing – Mike Ashley strikes again – Report

According to Miles Starforth, Rafa Benitez does NOT want to sell Matt Ritchie this summer, but he’s been told that he’ll have to if he wants to bring Andros Townsend back to the club – a reminder of Mike Ashley’s frustrating approach to transfers at NUFC.

The Palace winger is an obvious target of Benitez’s, being someone he reluctantly saw leave two years ago after relegation, and it seems he could be on his way back if we pay his alleged £17m asking price.

It sounds a fair price to me and a deal worth doing, but it seems Ashley’s only going to give Rafa the green light if he sells Matt Ritchie – something he’ll clearly be reluctant to do, yet a move he may be forced to make given his ‘limited transfer budget’.

Here’s what the Shields Gazette reporter has had to say on the unideal situation today:

“Rafa Benitez doesn’t want to sell Matt Ritchie this summer – but the winger could still be offloaded. 

“Benitez – who yesterday re-signed Kenedy on loan – wants to bring Andros Townsend back to St James’s Park before the August 9 transfer deadline. Townsend, sold to Crystal Palace two years ago, could be available for £17million.

“Benitez, working with a limited transfer budget this summer, could finance a move for Towsnend by selling Ritchie, who is a target for Stoke City.”

An owner with ambition would sanction a £17m deal for Townsend and give Rafa what he wants, but it seems Mike Ashley has now backed Benitez into a corner as far as Townsend’s potential return is concerned.



Some may say that it wouldn’t work having Townsend and Ritchie both fighting for the same role out wide, but Benitez thrives on competition and having two capable players fighting it out for one place in the first team.

It shouldn’t be like this, but this is how we seem to work under Mike Ashley.

No doubt we’ll only see a striker sign once Ashley receives his £20m for Aleksandar Mitrovic, with him keener to balance our books than he is to back Benitez.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

3 thoughts on “Rafa Benitez told to sell star player if he wants £17m signing – Mike Ashley strikes again – Report

  1. You can only have 25 squad members. Each has to be paid and you can’t have the Colback situation repeating itself. Players on high wages doing nothing.
    Rafa understands this. Read his book.
    Ritchie won’t want to be second fiddle anyway and Townsend is a better player. One in one out has to be the way in this situation. You have to make sacrifices if you want to progress.

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  2. f.f.s we have Atsu, Murphy, Kenedy, and Aarons plus calum Roberts plays in that position though I expect him to be loaned out 2 into 5 or 6 doesn’t go so although I admire Matt ritchies work ethic I think it is realistic that if townsend comes Ritchie leaves. If he did go Ritchie would be one of those guys who if he came back would get a standing ovation. A lotal 100% er.

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  3. Its not about balancing the books, that too is just an excuse, smoke and mirrors. Its about Ashley’s need to have a win, even over his own people and the club he owns. He wants to stick it up Rafa, make him do something unpalatable. You and I, Olly, are sensible people. We wouldn’t see the value in doing that, in fact, we would recognise the counter-productivity of such innane behaviouf. But, Ashley will treat that exact thing, like he has got one over Rafa, as if he has had a win, and use that to balm his conscience about being a total football-loser.

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