Matt Ritchie has confirmed that ‘discussions’ are now underway over a potential contract extension – with him insisting that he’s desperate to stay at St James’ Park this summer.
There’s been claims in recent weeks suggesting Benitez had told him he was ‘free to leave’, and although that report was rubbished by the club, exit rumours returned just last week, with Stoke tipped to offer him a lucrative contract.
Ritchie clearly has no plans to leave the club however, with him not only confirming that contract talks are underway, but insisting that he’s ‘fighting’ for his life to earn a new deal at a club he’s loving life at.
Here’s what he had to say when asked if he’d like to stay on Tyneside:
“There are discussions at the moment, hopefully we can get them resolved.
“This is a massive football club, I’m really enjoying playing, so until I’m told my services are no longer required, I’m fighting for my life as I do every week to perform.
“Who knows what the future holds but until I’m told my services are no longer required, I’ll do everything for the football club.”
Rafa’s wish to sign Rondon will be key ahead of talks with Mike Ashley today, but the Spaniard will no doubt be keen to keep other influential senior players at the club this summer – and Matt Ritchie is one of those.
Ritchie’s contract expires in 2021, so he still has two years left to run on his current deal, however any extension would go a long way to silencing those suggesting he could leave for one final pay-day this summer.
He may be 29 – meaning he’s at an age that doesn’t fit into Ashley’s transfer blue print when it comes to any new contract – but his superb season at left wing-back shows that he’s still go so much to offer.