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Is Matt Ritchie the perfect creative winger to fire Stoke to promotion?

The Newcastle United winger has been valued at £15 million.

Martyn Cooke



Matt Ritchie
Photo: Getty Images

The Telegraph are reporting that Stoke City and Middlesbrough are competing to sign Newcastle United midfielder Matt Ritchie as both clubs continue to enhance their squads ahead of the new season.

The Scotland international only arrived at St James Park two years ago in a £12 million switch from Bournemouth and was a central figure as The Magpies secured promotion from the Championship.

He continued to be a key part of Rafael Benitez’s team last season and made a total of 35 appearances in the Premier League, scoring three goals.

However, the Telegraph suggest that Benitez is open-minded about Ritchie’s future and could be tempted to cash in on the winger as he looks generate transfer funds to strengthen his own squad.

The Spaniard is preparing for a second campaign in the top-flight but Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is looking to sell the club and has been notoriously tight-fisted over the previous twelve months when it comes to investing in the transfer market.

Both Stoke and Middlesbrough are looking to push for promotion this season and have already signalled their intentions by making a number of high-profile signings early in the summer.

Tony Pulis has prepared for his first full season at the Riverside by investing in Aden Flint and Paddy McNair whilst Gary Rowett has secured the arrivals of Benik Afobe and Nigeria’s World Cup star Oghenekaro Etebo.

Both managers will be under pressure to hit the ground running this campaign and neither have wasted any time in making new additions to their squads.

It is believed that a fee of £15 million could tempt Newcastle to sell Ritchie although it is unclear whether the 28-year-old would be willing to drop into the Championship.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The perfect solution to Stoke’s creative woes?

Stoke City have certainly signalled their intention this season by making a number of high profile moves in the transfer market and, if newspaper reports are to be believed, still intend to sign a number of big-name players before the season begins.

Benik Afobe and Oghenekaro Etebo have already arrived whilst Gary Rowett has also made a major coup by convincing Welsh midfielder Joe Allen to sign a new contract with the club.

Furthermore, The Potters have also been linked with the likes of Dwight Gayle, Andre Gray and James McClean, suggesting that the club hierarchy have little intention of a hanging around in the second tier for too long.

Matt Ritchie would certainly be another major signing for Stoke and he certainly fits the bill as Rowett continues to remould his squad.

Stoke’s relegation last season was underpinned by a lack of creativity in the final third and the 28-year-old will certainly help to solve that issue.

Ritchie is renowned for the quality of his distribution from wide areas and he would be the perfect figure to provide deliveries into the box for the prolific Afobe.

The Potters are also short of out-and-out wingers at the moment.

Ramadan Sobhi has already been sold to Huddersfield Town whilst Xherdan Shaqiri has already confirmed that he intends to leave the club before the start of the new season, leaving Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting as the only senior wide player on the books.

Ritchie’s quality and experienced would be a major boost for Stoke’s promotion push and, although the asking price may be somewhat inflated, there is little doubting that he would be the perfect addition.

However, Rowett will need to deliver one hell of a sales pitch if he is to convince the Scotland international to depart St James Park this summer and drop in the second tier.

Whilst The Potters would be more than capable of matching Ritchie’s wage demands it is unclear whether he would relish the prospect of leaving the glitz, glamour and prestige of the Premier League behind.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas



Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Newcastle United

Five ins and outs Newcastle could complete this week

Benitez is ready to swing the axe in order to fund new arrivals.



Photo: Getty Images

Rafael Benitez did a stellar job with Newcastle United last season as he pushed the Magpies to Premier League safety but work needs to be done this summer.

The Tyneside giants have moved quickly to sign Martin Dubravka from Sparta Prague following his impressive period on-loan and have brought Kenedy back from Chelsea for another spell, as well as signing South Korea ace Ki Sung-Yeung on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Benitez continues to eye further business in the market though and it could be a busy week, as reports suggest these five deals could be concluded.

Isaac Hayden to Brighton

Sky Sports reported that Isaac Hayden has handed in a transfer request at Newcastle as he intends to move back down south for family reasons, although the Magpies are standing firm on their desire not to sell for the time being.

Player power is significant in the modern transfer market though and an exit for Hayden looks likely, with The Argus stating Brighton are eyeing a move after holding long-term interest in the former England U21 international.

That report suggests a fee of around £10m could be enough to tempt Newcastle into a sale, although the Magpies may look to land a replacement first having already lost Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad.

(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Matt Phillips: West Brom

Newcastle lacked consistency in the final third last season and will look to solve that problem this summer, with the Daily Mail stating West Brom’s Matt Phillips is one player being targeted by Rafael Benitez’s side.

Newly-promoted Cardiff City, alongside promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough, are also linked with the services of the 27-year-old Scottish international, which the report says will cost any interested party around £11m.

However, the Chronicle states Newcastle have not made a move to land Phillips from relegated West Bro and are instead pursuing alternative targets in the market – although that does not mean a transfer will not materialise.

Matt Ritchie to Stoke

Newcastle’s continued pursuit of attacking players means that a shake-up to the current squad is likely and it means that departures are likely to go ahead, with The Northern Echo stating Stoke want to conclude a deal for Matt Ritchie this week.

The report adds that Newcastle are ready to sell if their valuation of £15m for the Scotland international is met by the recently-relegated side and Stoke have money to spend following the sale of Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri to Liverpool.

Stoke have already seen a bid of around £12m rejected by Newcastle, the report adds, but a second offer is on the horizon.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Andros Townsend: Crystal Palace

Newcastle’s aim to bring Andros Townsend back to Tyneside goes hand-in-hand with Matt Ritchie’s proposed move to Stoke, as the Chronicle state the Magpies will not sign Townsend unless the Scotland international is sold.

Townsend left Newcastle for Crystal Palace two-years ago in a deal worth a reported £13m, just six months after arriving at St. James’ Park, and it is suggested that a fee of around £17m will be enough to tempt the Eagles into a sale.

“Your name can be linked with other clubs every transfer window it seems, but you have just got to get on with it and focus on what you are doing for the club you are contracted to until that changes.”

Andros Townsend speaks about the speculation on his future.

Ivan Toney to Sunderland

The writing appears to be on the wall for Ivan Toney at Newcastle, as the Chronicle reports the 22-year-old has been exiled from the first-team and told to find a new club as the Magpies look to clear out the fringe players from their squad.

Toney spent part of last season on-loan with Scunthorpe United, scoring eight goals in 16 league appearances, and a return to the third-tier is on the cards as Sunderland look to sign the young striker, the Chronicle has said.

A potential transfer to Wearside would likely be on-loan but Sunderland would be signing a player with impressive experience of League One, having helped to guide three clubs to the playoffs – twice with Scunthorpe and once with Barnsley.

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Slammed by Alan Shearer, £15m flop Florian Thauvin is now a World Cup finalist

The Newcastle United flop has turned his career around since his woeful spell at St James’ Park.

Mathew Nash



When Newcastle United saw one man warming up during the World Cup semi-final last night it left many aghast. The player in question was Florian Thauvin, who briefly threatened to come onto the pitch in place of Olivier Giroud.

Now, Newcastle fans will be equally amazed that the Frenchman is a World Cup finalist.

The Toon spent big to bring in Thauvin. Back in the summer of 2015, Newcastle paid a reported £15 million plus Remy Cabella on loan to Marseille for Thauvin’s services.

His time at St James’ Park bordered on shambolic. Thauvin played 13 times for Newcastle but was loaned out after just six months, heading back to Marseille.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

His time at Newcastle became synonymous with the failure of the previously fruitful French market for the club. His biggest impact was his fashion sense. The in-joke of several newbies to wear a tuxedo as their matchday suit drew ire from legend Alan Shearer and left Thauvin feeling isolated.

“He turns up in a tux. This is a serious business we’re in here, it was funny on the first day of the season, it’s not funny anymore.

– Newcastle legend Alan Shearer after Thauvin’s performance v Watford in September 2015

Since then, he has proven just why Newcastle invested £15 million in his services. This season has been sensational for the 25-year-old, who is now at Marseille permanently. He played 54 times for his club, scoring 26 goals and bagging 18 assists, as l’OM made the Europa League final.

Newcastle fans will no doubt wonder what might have been from Thauvin. But perhaps he was simply not right for the club in his younger years.

He will now hope to make an appearance in the final this Sunday. But if not, he may still come away with a World Cup winner’s medal.

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