According to the Telegraph, both Middlesbrough and Stoke have held ‘detailed discussions’ with NUFC over a potential £15m deal to sign Matt Ritchie this summer.
The story claims that Rafa Benitez is ‘open-minded’ about Ritchie’s future, stating the club could be willing to part with the 28-year-old if our £15m valuation was met.
Here’s a snippet from John Percy’s latest piece from the Telegraph, discussing the Championship duo’s attempts to sign Ritchie:
‘Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie is a £15 million target for Championship heavyweights Middlesbrough and Stoke.
‘Tony Pulis, the Middlesbrough manager, is scrapping with his old club to sign the Scotland international as Newcastle consider letting him leave after two years at the club.
‘Middlesbrough and Stoke have both held detailed discussions with Newcastle over a potential deal, with £15m understood to be the fee required to sign him.
‘Ritchie, 28, is also on the radar of former club Bournemouth but the two Championship clubs are going head to head in a battle to make what would be a major signing.
‘The £12m recruit made 35 appearances in the Premier League for Newcastle last season, scoring three goals, and it will require an impressive sales pitch to persuade him to drop down into the Championship.
‘Rafael Benitez, the Newcastle manager, is open-minded about Ritchie’s future but could use the funds to strengthen his own squad as he prepares for a second campaign in the top-flight.’
I would be surprised if we were willing to let Ritchie go given the fact he’s been a permanent fixtures in Rafa Benitez’s team for two years now – also being the sort of character and hard worker that’s epitomised everything we did well last season.
That being said, I do wonder if his lack of pace has Rafa wondering if he’s suited to his counter-attacking style of play, making him wonder if now might be the right time to cash in as he approaches 30.
I’m unsure about this one and would be surprised if he left, but it sounds like Boro and Stoke are showing serious interest.
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