The Athletic have revealed just how close Matt Ritchie was to leaving Newcastle in January – and why a move was ultimately blocked by the club.
According to David Ornstein, the 31-year-old was so convinced he was closing in on a return to Bournemouth that he ’emptied his locker’ and ‘bid farewell to teammates and staff.’
He reports that a move to the south coast was given the ‘green light’ by Bruce, only for a deal to be blocked for two reasons.
The Athletic report that our inability to land a replacement was one issue, along with the fact we wanted a permanent deal or loan with obligation to buy – with the latter only something Bournemouth would agree to IF they sealed promotion.
So, not only has Ritchie played just 34 minutes of football since New Years Day, he’s been denied a move he was set on for personal reasons and has since had a bust-up with Steve Bruce.
In fairness, you can see why we were unwilling to loan him out if it did not guarantee a sale at the end of it – especially if it would’ve left us one short without a replacement.
It’s a shame how Ritchie’s time on Tyneside has fallen apart under Bruce, but you’d think he’d get his move this summer.