Thursday, 30 June 2016

Magpies poised to grab Ritchie

Newcastle Utd seem ever more confident of landing AFCB winger Matt Ritchie for £12m and Sky Sports say talks are ongoing. I find it quite staggering that Matt would take that step down considering his international prospects, but I guess he has had reassurance from Gordon Strachan. A move also protects his AFCB legacy and enables him to live closer to Scotland, if he is to play up north, and he'll probably trebling his wages. That would of course leave a gap in AFCB's Premier League squad and I hope that Eddie Howe believes that Ryan Fraser is ready to play his part in the squad going forward.
Is Ritchie another AFCB player that wants a new challenge?
We have not seen enough of Ryan Fraser. His nippy wing play and quick thinking was always a great sight to see at Dean Court in AFCB's Championship years, but if he is to step up to being a Premier League player he will have to improve his finishing and get his name up on the assists board. What AFCB can benefit from is Ryan's pace and directness of running at defences. He has a different style to Matt Ritchie and prefers to play on the left, but he is already a bright prospect and I think fans want to see more young players get their chance in the Premier League. AFCB still have a large crop of wingers with Stanislas, Grabban, Pugh and Gradel as well as Fraser so there are still quite a few options for some one to play on the right with Stanislas probably in prime position to take the starting place.

There is no done deal yet for Matt Ritchie and while the Daily Mirror see him as being on his way it will be of interest to hear what AFCB say today or tomorrow, if anything at all. Whatever the outcome of this transfer interest from Rafa Benitez, it is apparent that AFCB will do very well to hold on to their Scottish winger who has attracted more and more attention for his international performances. 
Can Ryan Fraser find a spot in the squad if Ritchie departs?
It does seem strange though that another member of this Premier League squad is expecting to drop back down to the Championship, while AFCB have started this summer's transfer business by buying a Championship player. Money talks though and £12m looks more than West Ham are willing to pay for Matt. It remains to be seen if Eddie and Neill Blake will want to replace Ritchie with a new signing or if we could see more of Ryan Fraser next season.

Meanwhile, AFCB have announced that the first team will go to the USA this summer to Chicago and will play Minnesota Utd on 20 July.

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