Why Matt Ritchie deserves a new deal at Newcastle United
Ritchie, though, isn’t the only one who was supposedly on Bruce’s shortlist for a new contract at Tyneside, with the same report suggesting that the manager also prioritized tying down several other first-team stars, including Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Martin Dubravka, to new long-term deals.
Newcastle came out of their miserly habits this summer and grabbed the headlines with big-money deals for club-record signing Joelinton and Allan-Saint Maximin but there has apparently been no movement regarding the contract talks with some of the existing players at the club.
Of course, one does get the feeling that contract negotiations with the players are going on behind the scenes at St.James’ Park but the fans would ideally love to see some of the mainstays of the first-team commit their futures to the club sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, the Magpies have managed to register only a solitary victory from their opening five games in the Premier League and it hasn’t really been a spectacular start to the campaign that many would have hoped for, especially after a summer of heavy spending by the club’s standards.
The summer recruits are yet to make a massive impact in the Premier League but Steve Bruce is likely to be pleased with how some of the existing players have fared under his stewardship thus far.
Sean Longstaff and Hayden have hit the ground running with their industrious and tough-tackling displays in the midfield while Matt Ritchie, who often goes under the radar as an unsung hero, has continued to impress in an unfamiliar defensive role on the left-hand side of the pitch as a wing-back.
To put things into perspective, it should be a no-brainer for the Magpies to extend the stay of Matt Ritchie at Tyneside and the 30-year-old certainly deserves fresh and improved terms as an acknowledgement of his services at St. James’ Park over the past three seasons.
Ritchie, who established himself in the top-flight with Bournemouth before dropping down a division to join Newcastle in the summer of 2016, still has just more than 18 months left to run on the five-year deal that he signed while completing the switch.
However, given that he has been one of the standout performers at the club over the past three years and is currently an indispensable asset to Bruce with his versatility to play as a winger or a wing-back on either side of the pitch, Newcastle should move quickly to secure his future.
Having played a key role in Newcastle’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship, Ritchie has proven himself to be a reliable source of goals and assists for the club in the top-flight.
The 30-year-old Scottish international has accumulated 5 goals and 14 assists for the Magpies in 74 Premier League appearances, figures which are quite impressive considering the fact that he has hardly had the opportunity to play as an out-and-out creative winger further up the pitch.
Add to that his work-rate, stamina, drive, determination, ability to pick out the centre-forward with his immaculate crossing and proficiency in breaking up the play and it is easy to see why Newcastle just cannot afford to part ways with him in the near future.
The Scotsman is still as fit as a fiddle at the age of 30 and he clearly has a lot more to offer at the highest level, meaning that Newcastle would commit a grave mistake by letting him depart at the end of his current contract.
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With that in mind, it is important for Newcastle to hold on to their key first-team stars and Ritchie, being one of them, certainly deserves a new deal at the earliest.