Newcastle United complete £12million deal for AFC Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie has described signing for Newcastle United as an "unbelievable feeling" after confirmation of his £12million switch from AFC Bournemouth.

The winger is the club's third new arrival after the signings of goalkeeper Matz Sels and striker Dwight Gayle.

The 26-year-old Scotland international has agreed a five-year deal at St. James' Park and he has spoken of his delight at signing for Newcastle.

The fee is an initial £10million rising to £12million.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to come to a football club like this," said Ritchie.

"I loved it at Bournemouth - I had a fantastic time there and it had a huge impact on my career. But when a club like Newcastle comes calling, I couldn't pass up this opportunity.

"It's fantastic to be here and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of getting the Club back in the Premier League."

Ritchie spent three-and-a-half years at Bournemouth, making 142 appearances, scoring 31 goals and recording 29 assists.

He helped the Cherries lift the League One and Championship titles, as well as playing a key role in establishing Bournemouth in the Premier League last season.

Previously, Ritchie started his career at Portsmouth and spent time on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge, Notts County and Swindon Town, before joining the Robins permanently.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez said: "We have been following some wingers for a while and Matt was one of the best prospects for this team.

"He has great ability and pace, and as soon as we knew that Andros Townsend could be leaving, our priority was to finalise this deal.

"We have signed an exciting winger who has experience in the Championship but has also proved that he can step up to the top level. I am delighted that he is now part of our squad."