NEWCASTLE UNITED will make a final decision over the future of Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie in the next few days, with the pair expected to leave after the Magpies missed out on a place in Europe next season.

And in a further trimming of the squad, Ryan Fraser is expected to complete a permanent move to Southampton after Sunday’s Championship play-off final victory over Leeds United saw the Saints march back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Dummett and Ritchie are both due to reach the end of their respective Newcastle contracts next month, having been bit-part players on Tyneside last season. Dummett, who turns 33 in September, made just five Premier League substitute appearances, while Ritchie, who turns 35 in the same month, made just one senior start in all competitions.

Had Newcastle qualified for the UEFA Conference League, Eddie Howe had hinted that the pair could be offered new contracts to help the club cope with the additional fixtures in the first half of the season in particular.

However, with Manchester United’s victory in the FA Cup final meaning the Magpies will not be involved in European competition next season, the demands on Howe’s squad will be reduced. As a result, it is now extremely unlikely that either Dummett or Ritchie will be retained.

Both players travelled to Australia last week, but neither featured in either the penalty shootout win over Tottenham or the heavy defeat to the A-League All Stars team, with Howe reluctant to expose them to a risk of injury with the threat of being released hanging over their heads.

“They are out of contract,” said Howe, in the wake of Newcastle’s final game in Australia. “So, for obvious reasons, it would have been a big risk with no contract offer for them at the moment.

“A lot is riding on the FA Cup final for the club. In terms of revenue for next year, European qualification will be massive for us. I am sure that will play a part in the future of the two players we are speaking about.”

Missing out on the Conference League deprives Newcastle of up to £15m in revenue that would have been expected if the club had made it to the latter stages of the tournament next season.


Removing Dummett and Ritchie’s wages from the balance sheet will help address some of that shortfall, with Fraser’s anticipated departure another financial plus given that the winger’s contract on Tyneside is understood to be worth around £70,000-a-week.

Fraser completed his season-long loan at Southampton when he played the opening 70 minutes of Sunday’s play-off final success at Wembley.

The winger has made 44 appearances for the Saints this season, scoring eight goals, and features prominently in Russell Martin’s plans for next term.

Southampton officials will initiate talks over a permanent transfer shortly, with Newcastle set to receive a reasonably substantial fee for a player who still has one more year of his contract on Tyneside to run.

“At the end of the season, hopefully, I can stay,” said Fraser, who was speaking before Sunday’s success. “That’s my main goal, to stay at the club, but there are little goals to try to get there. First and foremost, my aim is to help the club get promoted, and it would be nice (to stay).

“I think everyone can see how much I’m enjoying it – it’s not a front that I’m putting on. I don’t think I’ve loved football this much for a long, long, long time.”

Fraser fell out with Howe during his time on Tyneside, and was sent to train with Newcastle’s Under-21s before heading to the south coast. There is no chance of Howe reintegrating him into the fold at Darsley Park, so a permanent switch to Southampton would be the best solution for all parties.

Loris Karius is another senior player expected to be moving on this summer, with Howe having decided not to offer the goalkeeper an extension to the deal that is due to expire next month.

However, Newcastle are understood to have triggered an option that has extended Mark Gillespie’s contract to the summer of 2025.