According to journalist Dean Jones, Matt Ritchie has been told he can leave Newcastle United in January. Jones told GIVEMESPORT the following on the long-serving Magpie:
“I’ve been told that he is a player that has been told he can go in the New Year.
“I know there has been some interest from America, there are MLS clubs that like him, so that might be an avenue that opens up to him.”
The 33-year-old has made just two appearances this term. While a calf injury that has sidelined him since late September hasn’t helped matters, Ritchie was always going to be a fringe member of Eddie Howe’s squad.
It was perhaps a surprise the winger stuck around this season. He has been keen on moving closer to his family down south for at least the last few seasons. Two years ago, a return to Bournemouth was discussed before then-manager Steve Bruce pulled the plug.
Howe made it clear he wanted to keep Ritchie around for this season in the summer. Though, at the time, he admitted Ritchie’s future was up the air as he stated:
“Matty’s own personal situation he will have his own thoughts. Mine is to try and keep him but it’s well documented that Matty has been away from his family for a long period of time.
“He loves playing for Newcastle and is very passionate about the club. But I think it is unclear what direction we will take this year but from both sides there is a lot of respect.”
With his contract set to expire in the summer, Howe will not stand in Ritchie’s way should a move develop. The head coach will also have to trim his squad to make way for any winter additions that are over the age of 21.
Ritchie has been an outstanding servant with 190 appearances under his belt. He will not be part of the future of the club and it may be best for him to leave in January as he’ll not feature much once he returns from his injury.