Matt Ritchie is desperate for a return to Bournemouth this summer and feels “anxious” about having to stay on Tyneside, according to new reports.
A move back to Bournemouth broke down in January when the former Scotland international was on the fringes of the Toon squad and unhappy at his lack of first-team football.
A heated row with Steve Bruce at the training ground – where he reportedly labelled our manager as a “coward” – became a big Daily Mail exclusive but, since then, he has been a revelation on the pitch and was a key cog in our resurgent end-of-season form.
The Mirror now claim that his desire to leave is down to family reasons, with Ritchie being born and raised on the South coast, having come through the ranks at Portsmouth before making his name at Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
He has been one of our most influential players both on and off the pitch since his arrival five years ago and if he does leave, the Toon Army will only have incredibly positive words to say about Ritchie.
A star player in our Championship-winning side of 16/17, he remained a key player under Rafa Benitez as we cemented ourselves as a top flight side in the following two seasons.
He adapted his game to become somewhat of a utility player in recent times, with his input on the team being evermore noticeable since he returned to the side at the back end of the campaign.
An adopted Geordie for life; if Ritchie has played his final game in black-and-white stripes, then we will only wish him nothing but the best in future.