Why Manchester United should go for Sean Longstaff in January
Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff has acknowledged being distracted by Manchester United speculation.
The midfielder, 21, enjoyed his breakthrough campaign at Newcastle last campaign, making 13 appearances in all competitions before a knee ligament injury cut short his season in March.
His performances caught Manchester United’s attention, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to sign him this summer.
But Newcastle slapped a £50million price-tag on Sean Longstaff and Manchester United were reluctant to meet that valuation. As a result, he has stayed on the books at St James’ Park and works his way back to full fitness from the knee injury he suffered last season.
As part of United’s plans to rebuild with homegrown talent, Solskjaer managed to sign just three players in Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire over the summer.
The club also offloaded some star players as Solskjaer had hoped that after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season he would be able to bring in the necessary reinforcements to help United progress this term.
While James, Wan-Bissaka and Maguire have made an instant impact at Old Trafford, there are positions in the current United squad that appear to need strengthening.
Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera’s exits have left Solskjaer’s midfield options light and it is believed that the Norwegian could be handed transfer funds in January to buy a new midfielder.
With that in mind, the Red Devils must rekindle their interest in Sean Longstaff when the transfer window reopens in a few months’ time.
Longstaff fits the mould of players Solskjaer wants to sign for United—young, talented, hungry and committed to the cause. Despite the 21-year-old’s lack of experience in the Premier League, he has massive potential that could be unlocked at Old Trafford.
Technically fine and strong on the ball, Longstaff is suited playing in a double-pivot from where he can dictate the tempo of the game with his distributing skills.
He has a good game awareness, tackling and interception skills, particularly adept at evading the pressure when receiving the ball. The Newcastle-born starlet is a versatile player who can play the holding midfield role and a slightly advanced role.
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Signing Longstaff would free up United’s attack-minded midfielders like Paul Pogba to attack more as the 21-year-old would provide the defensive insurance. His tenacity, energy and passing skills would perfectly complement with either Scott McTominay or Fred.
It is unlikely to see Newcastle reduce their valuation for Longstaff in January. But that shouldn’t deter United and they must go all out to sign the talented technician to solve their midfield woes.