Newcastle warn trio that £12m winger is not for sale this summer

Date published: Thursday 28th June 2018 2:01

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Newcastle have reportedly warned clubs that they have no plans to sell winger Matt Ritchie – unless they are made an offer they cannot refuse.

The 28-year-old Scotland international has been linked with Sky Bet Championship clubs Stoke and Middlesbrough, as well as Premier League outfit Bournemouth, over the past few days.

However, Press Association Sport claims that while there have been enquiries, no club has come anywhere near reaching a valuation which would give the Magpies cause for consideration.

Ritchie, who cost Newcastle £12million when he moved to Tyneside from Bournemouth during the summer of 2016, has been one of manager Rafael Benitez’s most reliable performers during the last two campaigns.

He made 42 league appearances and scored 12 goals as the Magpies won the 2016-17 Championship title, and missed only three Premier League games last season, during which he scored in victories over Manchester United, Southampton and Arsenal.

Benitez is not actively looking to sell the midfielder, although he is aware that he may have to wheel and deal to amass a transfer kitty which will allow him to target the men he wants to bring in this summer.

However, the club would only be prepared to consider a fee which would represent a significant premium on what they paid for the player and, even then, only if they had a replacement lined up.

In addition, whether Ritchie would be prepared to return to the Championship having worked so hard to prove himself in the top-flight remains to be seen.

It has proved a frustrating summer for Benitez so far with the completion of Sparta Prague keeper Martin Dubravka’s permanent move to St James’ Park the only breakthrough to date.

The Magpies are also resigned to the loss of Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino with Real Sociedad ready to activate a release clause in the five-year contract he signed in October last year.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, Matz Sels and Chancel Mbemba – among others – are surplus to requirements on Tyneside.

Serbia international Mitrovic’s trip to the World Cup – which drew to a close on Wednesday – has delayed progress on that front, while proposed deals for Sels and Mbemba have stalled.

 

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