Newcastle fans have reacted furiously to the news that owner Mike Ashley is open to negotiating the sale of star winger Matt Ritchie, as reported by the Telegraph, should his £15m valuation be met by an interested suitor.
It is said that Championship sides Stoke City and Middlesbrough are both interested in securing a deal for the 28-year-old wide man, who has starred under Rafa Benitez at St. James’ Park since his switch to Tyneside from Bournemouth in 2016.
Ritchie helped the Magpies win promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking during his first season at Newcastle, before playing a key role in Benitez’s side as they secured an impressive tenth place finish upon their return campaign in the top flight last term.
Ritchie has established himself as a big presence and a central component of the Magpies' side, becoming the regular commander of set pieces for the team, having contributed three goals and five assists last season, and has won a host of admirers for his committed and hard working style of play.
The winger scored the winning goal as Newcastle beat Manchester United 1-0 at home in the previous campaign, and also hit the decisive strike in the Magpies’ 2-1 win over Arsenal at St. James’ Park.
It seems his performances have endeared the Scot greatly to the Newcastle fans, who have responded with clear opposition to the notion of the winger departing St James’ Park this summer.
It seems that even a substantial fee would not justify any sale of Ritchie to the Newcastle supporters this summer. Here’s a selection of responses from a number of fans to the rumours…