Premier League side Newcastle United have confirmed that they are not willing to sell Scotland winger Matt Ritchie to Sky Bet Championship side Stoke City.
Reports in recent weeks had suggested that Stoke were interested in signing Ritchie as a replacement for Xherdan Shaqiri, who left the club to join Champions League finalists Liverpool.
However, the North East Premier League club are not willing to sell Ritchie, according to Lee Ryder on twitter.
Lee Ryder is a journalist for the Chronicle, and he was present at Rafa Benitez’s press conference today. Here is a look at his tweet about Matt Ritchie:
Rafa: "Matt Ritchie is our player and we don't want to sell him." #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) July 17, 2018
This news will be disappointing to Stoke City fans, who had been hoping to bring in an experienced player as a replacement for Shaqiri.
It had been believed that Newcastle United were willing to sell Ritchie once they had signed a replacement. The Magpies were reported to be interested in Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend, with Ritchie expected to leave the club when a new winger had arrived.
But this latest announcement throws a real spanner in the works for Stoke City, with Matt Ritchie being seen as an important part of Rafa Benitez’s plans ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Of course, Newcastle United fans were quick to respond to the news once it broke, with many of them responding to Lee Ryder’s tweet. Here is a look at what some of them had to say:
This player hopes that Ritchie stays, as he feels that he has been a good player for the club.
Hope he stays he's been class for us
— Rich Miller ⚫️Nufc⚪️ (@Rich1982Miller) July 17, 2018
Matt Ritchie is the hardest worker in the team according to this fan.
He’s the hardest worker in the team, and we would miss that more than people imagine if he leaves
— Colin Graham (@CRG196754) July 17, 2018