Newcastle United transfer rumours: Rafa Benitez eyes European free agent as popular midfielder is linked with £15m exit

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez pictured with midfielder Matt Ritchie
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez pictured with midfielder Matt Ritchie

Transfer talk is beginning to mount after Newcastle United rounded off their Premier League campaign with a 4-0 win over Fulham on Sunday.

And fresh reports today claim a popular winger could be the subject of a summer exit as a move for a familiar player crops up.

Matt Ritchie has received several plaudits for his efforts in the Magpies' fight against the Premier League drop zone, yet speculation suggests his future could lie elsewhere.

Cited in the Teesside Gazette, the 29-year-old is again wanted by Stoke City this summer, who are ready to offer him a "lucrative long term deal" to tempt him to the Championship club.

Ritchie, with two years left on his current contract, is reportedly still keen to hold talks over an extension despite the uncertainty surrounding boss Rafa Benitez's contract stand-off.

The former AFC Bournemouth was said to be available for £15million last summer before Benitez pulled the plug on the deal. His current valuation, if one, is unknown at the moment.

In potential United incomings, Benifca midfielder Andreas Samaris is once more touted with a switch to England and Newcastle.

The Greek international becomes a free agent next month and Turkish media outlet Fotomac believes Benitez's side are one of four clubs chasing his signature.

Those clubs include Galatasaray, who plan to make him a big offer, plus Premier League rivals West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In the January window, speculation suggested Newcastle submitted a loan bid for the 29-year-old but it was knocked back by the Portuguese club.