Sky claimed last night that Ritchie was in ‘advanced talks’ with Stoke over a potential £15m move, whilst Hayden has been linked with a move to Brighton after handing in a transfer request on Tyneside due to ‘family reasons’.
Starting with Ritchie, here’s what Rafa’s had to say about his NUFC future today – suggesting that he may opt against selling him in order to fund a move for Andros Townsend:
“Matt Ritchie is our player and we don’t want to sell him.”
“To do a transfer, too many things have to happen at the same time,”
Rafa’s second line gives the game away for me. We’ll only sell if the money could be used to sign Townsend, but this suggests that a deal for the latter may be a bit messy – meaning it’d be a big risk to sell Ritchie if a deal with Palace couldn’t be guaranteed.
Benitez then spoke out about Isaac Hayden’s situation at the club, admitting that he must ‘protect the team’ despite taking his personal problems into account
“We will try to help him because he said he has personal problems… At the same time, I have to protect the team and the club. We will see if we can find the best solution possible but we want to keep him because he’s an important player for us.”
“It’s just to manage and be sure he has the motivation we need from everyone. When we signed him, he was at Hull, so we gave him the opportunity to stay in the Premier League, and we are trying to support him now.”
#nufc are trying to work with Isaac Hayden to find a solution. They will fully support the midfielder who has family issues at the moment. Could still stay.
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) July 17, 2018
Rafa then admitted that the club would be left short in midfield if he was to leave, however it seems he is focusing on keeping him happy on Tyneside for now:
“Yes (we will be left short), but not thinking too much about that. We have to think about him and his situation, and if we can help. I told already him he can take extra days off, so it’s not an issue.”
Finally, Rafa confirmed that they have ‘some enquiries’ for players, suggesting that the club will be looking to move several on in order to raise funds for new signings:
“We have some enquiries about some of our players and Lee Charnley is working on that. We will see if we have any news in the next few days.
“Obviously, we need to move players if we want to have money to spend on players.”
If we really do need to sell before we can buy, let’s hope the likes of Mitrovic, Mbemba, Sels, Colback Lazaar and Saivet are sold ASAP.