It was feared that the duo may not be handed new deals under Mike Ashley’s ownership, with Ritchie now 30 and Shelvey turning 28 next month, but Lee Ryder’s reports that ‘deals “in principle” have been agreed for both players’ – suggesting new contracts may be imminent.
Shelvey and Ritchie’s current contracts are set to expire in 18 months time and it is thought that both players are keen on the idea of staying on Tyneside, with both happy in the North East.
Since their arrivals in 2016 they have played just under 250 games between them and are regarded as senior first-team players in the dressing room, with both players wearing the armband on occasions when skipper Jamaal Lascelles has been injured.
Securing the contract of Shelvey could be a massive boost. He’s very much in his prime years at 27 and has arguably been one of our stand out performers so far this season.
There looked a time where he could’ve headed out the exit door under Rafa Benitez, but it is refreshing to see his turnaround in fortunes under Steve Bruce, with him undoubtedly our most talented midfielder when on form.
As for Ritchie, with competition for a first-team spot fierce after Jetro Willems has cemented a spot at left wing-back and Miggy Almiron and Saint-Maximin taking his place out wide, he may have to fight for his place in the starting 11 if a new deal is agreed.
On and off the pitch Ritchie is a massive player for us, however. Throughout his time at the club he has played pretty much every position on the pitch, with his energy, professionalism and versatility still a key asset to this team.
With Dubravka’s future being secured at the end of last year via a new deal and now the possibility of Shelvey and Ritchie penning new contracts, it is good to see Charnley doing his job and tying down the spine of this current Newcastle team.