Manchester United are looking for a replacement for Antonio Valencia in an unlikely place, with the Red Devils poised to make a January swoop on Dean Court.
Valencia has been ruled out for five months after having surgery on a broken foot and rather than scale the peaks of Europe’s top leagues manager Louis van Gaal is said to have earmarked Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie as a replacement for the Ecuadorian.
Scotland international Ritchie, 26, started his career at Portsmouth but was sent out on loans to Dagenham and Redbridge, Notts County and Swindon.
It was at the Robins where he impressed though and he made a permanent switch the County Ground in 2010.
A solid return of 43 goals in 189 games saw Eddie Howe come calling and that move ultimately saw then-Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio turn his back on the job.
Ritchie has gone from strength to strength at Dean Court and has been one of the stand-out players in the club’s rise to the top flight.
The goals have dried up somewhat this season, with Ritchie scoring just twice so far, but the wide man has been a constant threat down the right and possesses both the speed and creativity that Van Gaal craves.
According to Transfermrkt.com, Ritchie, who is under contract at Bournemouth until 2018, would command a fee of just £3.5m.
While the Cherries would no doubt up the price were United to come calling it is unlikely the south coast outfit would turn down a big offer, or stand in the player’s way of a dream move.
United’s fans may not be enamoured with the idea, with the Stretford End used to the Red Devils operating at the higher end of the market, but with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Charlie Austin hitting the headlines in recent years, looking closer to home could well be the answer .
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