Selling Consistent Performer Would Be Absolute Madness For NUFC

Lots Of Rumours About Possible Matt Ritchie Exit

I dont like to comment on speculation and paper talk so I literally have no idea whether there is any truth to the current rumours about a possible exit for Matt Ritchie with the likes of Stoke, Middlesbrough and old club Bournemouth said to be interested.

What I do want to comment on though is a lot of the talk I have seen on social media etc from a number of Newcastle fans who seem quite happy for the Scotland international to be traded in which I personally find pretty baffling.

For me he has been, along with Lascelles, probably our most consistent performer over the last 2 years that he has been here playing a massive part in our promotion and then in our successful bid to stay in the Premier League this season just gone.

What I find even more baffling is that if any of the rumours are true then it appears Newcastle are interested in replacing him with former winger Andros Townsend.

I think some of our fans can have extremely short memories at times - look I understand the way football works and sometimes there isnt room for sentiment. I totally appreciate the view that Matt Ritchie isnt the best winger in the world and it could be argued that his goals and assist stats in the Premier League could and should be better. He obviously contributed more in that regard in the Championship but that was always likely to happen and was the same for a number of our players. That doesnt automatically mean a player isnt Premier League quality though.

Football isnt all about stats and what Ritchie maybe doesnt always offer in the hard currency of goals and assists he certainly offers in graft and passion. Again I appreciate a player shoulnt just play for us because he simply tries hard but lets not forget the whole basis of our current side and the way it plays is pretty much being organised and working hard. So whilst I appreciate to progress you do need to look at maybe replacing some of that graft with a bit more guile I also think you have to be careful to not just simply dump these grafters and suddenly expect to turn into the entertainers again - it needs to be a gradual improvement and I have to say in terms of looking at improvement there would certainly be other players I would be looking at moving on this summer ahead of Matt Ritchie.

Of course every player has a price etc and were someone to come in and offer a really serious amount of money for him then yes maybe you would consider it and I have also heard a few rumours about the player maybe wanting to move back down south - if that is the case then yes maybe you have a different situation but to be honest he has always seemed happy here so I dont know how much truth there is in that.

I think the big thing you always have to look at in these situation is who would you replace him with and I have to say personally the rumours of that being Andros Townsend are worrying from my perspective especially given that even more alarmingly I have seen figures of about 30 million being quoted for him in comparisons to figures of about half that being quoted for Ritchie.

I dont think Townsend is any better than Ritchie personally and that is before you even start to consider the fact that Andros has jumped ship from here already at the first opportunity whereas Ritchie was happy to drop down from the Premier League to join us - I think that shows you where abouts each of those players stomach for the fight lie.

He did ok in his short spell here Townsend although I think a lot of people slightly embellish it slightly - there were a couple of standout performances in our relegation fight that gave us half a chance but lets not forget probably his best game for us was after we had already been relegated when we faced his former club and he no doubt was looking to prove a bit of a point. There were also some very ordinary performances from him in that run in when we maybe needed a bit more although of course he certainly wasnt alone on that front.

Ive had people throwing stats at we comparing the 2 showing that Townsend takes people on a lot more - thats great but based on that you would surely be expecting his goals and assists to therefore be significantly higher than Ritchies - I can tell you they arent, they are pretty similar on those stats.

So the question is do we want to replace a player that works hard for the team and clearly wants to be here with someone who maybe offers a bit more excitement but ultimately doesnt offer much more output and whos committment is massively questionable and who is going to cost over double the amount we sold him for and considerably more than we are going to get for Richie - my answer to that is a big fat resounding no.

For me if we are to look to replace Ritchie then it has to be with someone far better and more appealing than Townsend. Look if we could get Townsend back at a good price then whilst I would begrudge it slightly given his previous exit I could possibly see the merits in it but not at the expense of Ritchie - if he was to be replacing anyone in the squad then it would be the likes of Atsu, Murphy, Aarons etc for starters.

We will obviously see what happens, it could all be paper talk but that is my view on things. We have been in these situations before I think where a player isnt maybe missed as much as they should be by some until they have gone - I certainly think if he was to leave his loss would definitely be a massive gain for whoever he went to and we would have a massive task in filling that void.

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