Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has admitted that Matt Ritchie could leave the club before deadline day on Monday, with the club open to offers for the Scotland international, per Craig Hope.
And that could pave the way for a potential return to AFC Bournemouth for the left-sided player, who hasn’t been a regular fixture for Bruce this season at St. James Park.
The 31-year-old has made just eight Premier League appearances in the current campaign, and it looks as though the Magpies are ready to let him depart in order for him to seek regular first-team football.
A swap deal with Cherries midfielder Philip Billing was rumoured last weekend by The Sun, speculation which may intensify considering Bournemouth have just signed another central midfield player in Ben Pearson.
A potential move back to Dean Court would strengthen Jason Tindall’s hand in the left wing-back role, but also further forward in the wing areas if that’s where he sees Ritchie’s best position.
They may not be able to afford the Scot though, as Bruce has hinted that Ritchie will not be leaving on the cheap.
Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Bournemouth players ever score a goal at Dean Court?
“We all understand Matt’s situation,” Bruce told the media today, per Chris Waugh.
“His frustration is he isn’t playing every week. We have to make way to bring somebody in so we can never say never.
“It’s the same with anyone in the squad but it would take a hell of an offer.”
Ritchie would be a quality signing for anyone in the Championship, but it would seemingly take a decent fee for Newcastle to part with him – and then his wages also come into the equation.
Spotrac believe that the Scotland international is on £45,000-per week, which would be a major problem for second tier clubs, including Bournemouth who still have big-hitters like Josh King on the books.
The aforementioned potential swap with Ritchie and Billing could be a goer, especially with Newcastle seemingly in the market for a new central midfielder, and that looks likely to be the only way that Ritchie will be able to add to his 130 Cherries league appearances which he accumulated between 2013 and 2016.