Why Longstaff would be a shrewd signing by Manchester United
With the Red Devils undergoing a major setback in the form of injuries to midfielders Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, young Longstaff has come out as one of the options during the winter window.
McTominay, who sustained a knee ligament injury, is expected to be on the sidelines for at least two months, while star man Pogba will have to undergo surgery for his knee problem and could be out for a month, the report claims.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Longstaff was a transfer target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the summer when United were looking to bolster their options in the midfield.
However, his £50million price tag proved to be too big for the Red Devils, who subsequently backed out from the deal.
Now with the midfield woes hitting them hard, United have once again reignited their interest in the Englishman, who has been growing in stature at St. James’ Park.
Longstaff has so far appeared in 14 of Newcastle’s 21 league games, improving upon his own tally of 9 matches from last season.
Apart from the three games he missed due to suspension, he has otherwise been a regular under manager Steve Bruce in Newcastle’s Premier League campaign this year.
Of the 7 matches that Newcastle have won this season, the youngster has featured in 4 of them, thus, signifying his importance in the squad.
Longstaff, who is a product of the Newcastle academy, was loaned out to Scottish side Kilmarnock, but it was with League One side Blackpool where he made his big break.
He appeared in 42 league matches while on loan at Blackpool in the 2017-18 season, impressing with 8 goals and 5 assists, following which he was recalled by his parent club Newcastle.
The young midfielder was finally handed his debut in the 2018-19 league campaign match against Liverpool, where he came on as a substitute.
Since then, he has developed as a player, featuring in a variety of positions, playing a total of 27 games, scoring 2 goals and providing as many assists to date.
Despite his age and short experience, Longstaff’s versatility and consistency have seen him being preferred by manager Bruce over many of the old guards in the side.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are clearly short of options in the middle, with Fred being the only regular starter in the squad.
Veteran Nemanja Matic has fallen down the pecking order under Solskjaer but has lately been reintegrated into the squad due to injuries to McTominay and Pogba.
However, the 2-0 loss to Arsenal last Wednesday has cleared all doubts regarding the 31-year-old’s form as he looked way past his prime.
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With their midfield woes visibly out in the open, United need a player who could help them deliver good results and close their 5-point gap on fourth-placed Chelsea.
Manchester United have been suffering this season due to injury to main man Pogba and the rest of their midfielders, and they surely need some new face if they wish to end the season on a good note.
Hence, bringing in someone as young as Longstaff would be a very shrewd move by the Red Devils, as he could be a valuable asset for the future too.