Newcastle's sell-to-buy transfer policy is a source of increasing frustration for Rafa Benitez, who has targeted Andros Townsend but cannot buy him without selling another player first.
The sacrificial lamb in this case would be Matt Ritchie, who has been linked with a move to Stoke. Though Benitez would be reluctant to sell Ritchie, he may be forced to do so if he wants to bring Townsend back to St James' Park.
"Rafa Benitez wanted Townsend. Matt Ritchie - will he go to Stoke? Newcastle seem in the need to get rid of players before they can bring them in," Sky Sports journalist Pete Graves told the Transfer Talk Podcast, as quoted by the Daily Express.
"If Ritchie goes to Stoke, Townsend will come in. That was what Rafa Benitez wanted - Townsend on one wing, Kenedy on the other.
"He'd like Townsend but he can't get him in unless he sells - and he doesn't want to sell unless he knows he'll get replacements."
Townsend was sold in the summer of 2016 following Newcastle's relegation to the Championship, but now that they are re-established in the top flight, Benitez wants Townsend back.
He may have to sell Ritchie first though. The Scottish international is wanted by Stoke for £15m.
The Spaniard has seemingly dismissed the idea of selling Ritchie, saying: "he is our player, we're happy with him and we don't want to sell him."
However, Benitez has explained in the Shields Gazette that he may have to sell players against his will to fund other transfers.
"[I have] to manage the players who have value in the market and see if we can find some players at the right price," he said.