Newcastle United signing Matt Ritchie admits being linked to West Ham was flattering

Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring the first goal for Bournemouth

The Scotland international opted to join the Magpies this month.

Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring the first goal for BournemouthMatt Ritchie celebrates scoring for Bournemouth

Newcastle United new boy Matt Ritchie has admitted being flattered by links to West Ham but insists he is happy on Tyneside, in quotes published by the Chronicle.

The former Bournemouth man joined the Rafa Benitez revolution earlier this month in a £12 million deal, according to the Chronicle, but things could have been different had the Hammers’ interest developed.

“I think it was flattering (being linked with West Ham) - but, nothing came of it,” said the 26-year old.

Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie in actionMatt Ritchie

“I was working hard as if I was coming back to Bournemouth and had nothing else on my mind. But when things do come up and you hear of interest from other clubs, you have to deal with it and that’s football.

“When a club like Newcastle is interested, I wanted to pursue it. I was caught off guard but as soon as I heard, it was something that excited me. The size of the football club, the manager and when you look a bit deeper, the squad we’ve got. I’m delighted to be here, it’s a fantastic club,” added Ritchie.

Scotland's Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring their first goalScotland's Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring

Newcastle fans should be encouraged by the Scottish international’s words, with the player willing to drop down a division to call himself a Magpie.

Ritchie is seemingly unfazed by a return to the Championship, after a successful debut season in the Premier League, and Benitez will be the main beneficiary of that fact, bolstering his squad with a high quality midfield option who knows the Championship inside out.

Dwight Gayle celebrates after scoring the second goal for Crystal PalaceDwight Gayle celebrates after scoring for Crystal Palace

The signings of Dwight Gayle and Isaac Hayden provide the squad with further Championship experience and suggest a clear philosophy in Benitez’s transfer approach this summer.

The departures of Andros Townsend, Papisse Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini are likely to be followed by several more high-profile figures, with Benitez making it clear that those who are unwilling to stay and fight for the jersey are no longer welcome at St.James Park.

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