NEWCASTLE UNITED will listen to offers for Matt Ritchie this summer, despite Eddie Howe having hailed the “massive” role the 32-year-old played in his side’s successful survival battle.

Ritchie is set to enter the final year of his current Newcastle contract this summer, and with his chances of first-team football next season likely to be limited, it might well suit all parties for him to move on.

The Scotsman started the opening 13 games of last season, but after being left out of the side for December’s draw with Norwich, he only made one more Premier League start in the whole of the remainder of the campaign.

His involvement in the second half of the season was restricted to an FA Cup start against Cambridge United and brief substitute appearances against Norwich City and Burnley in the final month of matches, and his two-minute cameo at Turf Moor on Sunday felt like an opportunity to say his goodbyes.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of Newcastle’s season-ending win, Howe insisted he had not made a final decision on the future of any of his players, but Ritchie is one member of the Magpies’ ‘old guard’ that appears to have reached the end of his time on Tyneside.

He is already attracting interest from a number of Championship clubs, while his former employers, Bournemouth, have also been linked with a possible move following their promotion back to the top-flight.

“Matt’s contribution has been massive,” said Howe. “It’s absolutely humungous what he’s achieved here. Leaving me at Bournemouth to come to a team in the Championship, the role he played in that team was huge. Then his contribution in the Premier League has been immense.

“This season, just speaking on behalf of what he has given the group, even though he might not have played regularly, behind the scenes he has just been an unbelievable professional.

“He’s a big voice in the changing room that’s helped unite people. He’s played a big part in our fight to stay in the division.”

Howe is set to hold talks with all of his players in the next 48 hours, with Newcastle expected to announce their retained list before the end of the week.

Sean Longstaff is close to agreeing a contract extension that would see him remain at St James’ Park, with his current deal due to expire next month.