Reports last month suggested that Newcastle United had offered Sean Longstaff a new four-year deal, and lo and behold, he put pen to paper earlier this week, penning what was actually a new three-year deal at St James’ Park.
That previous report had suggested that the academy graduate had ‘sought assurances’ over his playing time under manager Eddie Howe – hence the initial delay in any negotiations – but he does now have a future under the former Bournemouth boss.
Howe had indicated that he wanted the 24-year-old to stay at the club beyond the end of the season – with his past deal set to expire in just over a month – but fortunately, he now has his wish.
The North Shields-born ace made just 15 Premier League starts in the 2021/22 campaign, although that is the same as he managed in the previous season, having failed to really establish himself in the side under both Steve Bruce and his successor.
The 5 foot 11 star had initially burst onto the scene during the 2018/19 season, making nine top-flight appearances and reportedly catching the attention of Manchester United, who were linked with a hefty £50m bid in the summer of 2019.
Longstaff – and teammate Isaac Hayden – had also earned praise from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in that debut season in the first team, with the serial-winning coach stating that his side “could not deal with” the midfield pairing after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park.
Should Longstaff leave Newcastle?
Yes, had his chance
Not for me!
Such displays had seen then-boss Rafa Benitez tip the youngster for an England call-up, although the Spaniard’s subsequent departure – and frustrating injuries for the player – have stunted his progress, with a Three Lions bow now seemingly a long away off.
Nevertheless, the £11.7m-rated man is clearly a valuable asset – having been dubbed “immense” by Chronicle Live journalist Charlie Bennett – with the club possibly now forming a dream duo in the middle of the park.
There will likely be another raft of high profile incomings this summer as PIF look to realise their lofty ambitions, although having a local lad in tow also remains important, ensuring that the spirit of the club is not lost in the coming years.
Newcastle already have Bruno Guimaraes in their ranks but they could add positively to their midfield options in the shape of Jesse Lingard this summer too.
The Magpies very nearly signed the Manchester United attacking midfielder in January but a deal fell through. However, his contract is expiring this summer and there is no sign of a new deal on the table with Newcastle linked again.
Thus, the future of Howe’s midfield could very much look like a Longstaff, Guimaraes and Lingard triumvirate, something that would no doubt spark intrigue and fear in opposition team’s up and down the country.
Longstaff’s renewal, therefore, is not just for sentimental reasons. He has also performed impressively on the pitch of late, ranking in the top 4% for tackles made among midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues and in the top 13% for pressures made.
He may not be a glamour name, but Longstaff deserves to be a key part of Howe’s squad for the years to come and must be unleashed more regularly next term.