Newcastle's Scottish international midfielder Matt Ritchie has insisted that he is happy at the club, despite reported summer transfer speculation linking him with Stoke City and Middlesbrough.
The 29-year-old swapped the Vitality Stadium for St. James' Park in the summer of 2016, ending his two and a half year spell with the Cherries in a bid to help get Newcastle back in the top flight. He has made 96 appearances for the Magpies, netting 19 times and providing 17 assists in all competitions.
He was linked with moves to the Potters and local rivals Middlesbrough in the summer, but indicated he is happy at the Toon, while admitting he is still very fond of the Dorset outfit.
Speaking ahead of his current side's meeting with his former employers on Saturday, Ritchie told the Shields Gazette: "The way they’ve [Bournemouth] started the season really pleases me – I couldn’t be happier for them. To see so many people I left behind doing well, that’s great.
“It was my decision to leave Bournemouth, because Newcastle was the place I wanted to be – and it’s the same now."
Bournemouth were stunned by a Salomon Rondon brace on Saturday but still sit 11 points clear of the Magpies in the Premier League table. Yet, despite the nature of the challenge, Ritchie gave the impression that he was enjoying the survival bid and reiterated that he had not regrets in regards to his switch to Tyneside.
"It’s a challenge I have relished taking on and I still am. For all the good times I had at Bournemouth, not for one moment have I regretted the move. I take an enormous amount of pleasure watching them Match of the Day and seeing lads I spent so much time with doing so well.
"We were such a tight group at Bournemouth. The manager, all the staff, everyone involved, I was there for years with them, so that club is still very much part of me."