Rafa Benitez 'in talks' over £18m replacement for Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)
Matt Ritchie. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

Newcastle United are bidding to re-sign Andros Townsend, according to a report.

The Sun claim that Townsend, sold to Crystal Palace two years ago, is being lined up as a replacement for in-demand Matt Ritchie.

Ritchie is wanted by Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Stoke City.

READ MORE: Matt Ritchie’s ‘busy and annoying’, but he’s so important to Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle

The report adds that Ritchie, signed from Bournemouth two years ago, is "heading to Stoke in a £15million deal".

Benitez attempted to bring Townsend, 26, back to St James's Park last year as the club pushed for promotion to the Premier League. However, the proposed deal was not sanctioned by owner Mike Ashley.

Andros Townsend and Rafa Benitez.

Andros Townsend and Rafa Benitez.

United manager Benitez also wants to re-sign Chelsea's Kenedy, either on loan or on a permanent deal.

Kenedy spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle.

The club this week signed free agent Ki Sung-yueng, who was released by relegated Swansea City at the end of last season.

And the rest of the club's transfer business will hinge on ongoing discussions over a transfer budget.

Ashley wants Benitez to sign a new deal. United's manager, however, is unwilling to start contract talks before agreeing a funding plan.