Scotland winger Matt Ritchie has a big role to play at Bournemouth after bid is knocked back

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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe insists Scotland winger Matt Ritchie is pivotal to his future plans in the Premier League after the club rejected a bid from West Ham for the player.

Ritchie, who was named in Gordon Strachan’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and France, and striker Callum Wilson were the subject of an unsuccessful £20 million offer from the Hammers on Monday.

But after playing in all but one of Bournemouth’s 38 Premier League matches on their way to finishing in 16th place last season, Howe has no intention of allowing eight-times capped Ritchie to depart.

(Pic: Chelsea Debs)
(Pic: Chelsea Debs)

Howe said: “We don’t need to sell. We have a really ambitious owner. We want to try and improve our squad, not weaken it.

“We are desperately trying to move this team forwards and looking at it the other way, bringing recruits in to strengthen what is already a good group. That’s the summer we hope to have.”

Ritchie cost Bournemouth £500,000 when he joined from Swindon in January 2013 and scored 15 goals as the Dean Court outfit won promotion during the 2014/15 campaign.

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